Saturday, October 27, 2007

Joe Veroff Dead at 77

I have just learned of the passing of UM psychology professor Joe Veroff, at the age of 77; his death occurred on September 30. An obituary appeared in the University Record, in which it is noted that, "A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. [Eastern] Nov. 24 in 1324 East Hall."

Joe's kind, gentle spirit is what I remember most. I, as well as countless other social and developmental psychology students over the years, took Joe's social-psychology core course on socialization and lifespan development (co-taught with the late Libby Douvan). As per Joe's tradition, the final day of class was a luncheon at his home. For my cohort, this event took place in May 1985. I was reminded of that by this portion of the obituary:

"It is hard to pass the old Veroff house on Granger without thinking of the many casual get-togethers for faculty and students, replete with wonderful home-cooked dishes, engaging conversation and good company that he and Jody provided for scores of scholars over the years," said Toni Antonucci...

Joe and his collaborators (and other Michigan faculty, too) were practitioners of the survey method, which I found to be a nice complement to the seeming emphasis at UM and in other social-psych programs on laboratory experimentation. Again, from the obituary:

With Elizabeth Douvan and Richard Kulka, Veroff co-authored two influential books based on findings from two nationally representative ISR surveys on these topics: "The Inner American: A Self-Portrait from 1957 to 1976" and "Mental Health in America: Patterns of Help-Seeking from 1957 to 1976."

Right around the time my graduate-student contemporaries arrived at UM in the early-mid 1980s, Joe and colleagues were beginning to launch the Early Years of Marriage Study, which continues to this day. Back on June 25, 2004, I wrote about Joe and the marriage study (June 2004 archive).

I'm sure many in the Michigan and broader psychology communities join me in expressing condolences and best wishes to Joe's family, friends, and colleagues.