Perkins, White Give Their Last Lectures

Robert W. White

Robert W. White, '25, professor of Clinical Psychology, will deliver his last Harvard lecture this morning.

White, 64, who has been teaching at Harvard since 1937, is retiring at the end of this semester to devote more of his time to writing.

Doesn't Say Much

Sparing of speech, White is noted for his availability to students. "He doesn't say much," said David C. McClellan, professor of Psychology, and a close friend for over 12 years, "but he's always willing to listen."

McClellan added that "unlike many professors these days, he manages to be heard without yelling."


Henry A. Murray, professor of Clinical Psychology, emeritus, who had White as a student, said that White has been noted for his sense of humor--he does musical caricatures at the piano of other members of the department. Describing White's books, Murray quoted a former student as saying that "even the footnotes are human."

White's best known books are The Abnormal Personality, written in 1948, and Lives in Progress: A Study of the Natural Growth of Personality, written in 1952.

He presently teaches two Social Relations courses, a graduate seminar on personality, and Soc Rel 183, "Psychological Study of Life History" in which he will give his final lecture today.

White received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1937 writing his thesis on Experimental Evidence for a Dynamic Theory of Hypnosis. From 1946 to 1950, he was director of the Psychological Clinic at Harvard. In 1957 he became chairman of the Social Relations Department, a post he held until 1962. He was made a full professor in 1958.

At a retirement dinner last week at the Signet Club, Professor White was called "the last New England gentleman."

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