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Arthur W. Melton
LSA Minutes


Professor Emeritus Arthur W. Melton died on Sunday, November 5, 1978 at his home in San Antonio, Texas.

Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on August 13, 1906, Professor Melton was a graduate of Washington University and earned his Master's degree and doctorate at Yale University. He served as professor and department chairman at the University of Missouri. Prior to coming to Ann Arbor in 1957, Professor Melton had also served as Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University from 1946 to 1949 and as Director of the U.S. Air Force Personnel and Training Research Center in Texas from 1949 to 1957.

Co-founder of the U-M Human Performance Center and its Director until retiring from the faculty in December, 1973, he also served as head of the Engineering Psychology Laboratory at Willow Run.

Professor Melton was a past president of the American Psychological Association Division of Military Psychology, past president of the Society of Engineering Psycholigists and of other national organizations. In 1969 he was honored for his "contributions to the areas of human learning and short-term memory in particular" by election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Although he had been affiliated with several other institutions and agencies during his career, Art came to think about Michigan as "his University." His loyalty was boundless. His service to the Department of Psychology, to the Human Performance Center, and to the students and staff of the Experimental area was a major factor in establishing and maintaining our reputation for excellence in research and training during the decade and a half he was with us.

Art loved good science. But he was downright passionate about clarity of exposition of knowledge and the research upon which it was based. A generation of experimentalists learned to write more clearly as a result of his editorship of the Journal of Experimental Psychology. That same dedication to clarity and coherence pervaded his teaching and did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by his students. They awarded him the first annual plaque for outstanding teaching given in the Department.

I suspect that those who knew him only in his official roles viewed him as rather stern; as a man who suffered those of other persuasions un¬gladly, if at all. But he was also a person of zest and full of the joy of living. Whether he was chopping wood at his retreat on Georgian Bay, reminiscing over a tall Scotch with cronies at a party, or drawing out an opponent on the seventh card in a stud poker game, he loved what he was doing and it showed.

Those who were fortunate to know him "close up" also knew a man of great generosity and kindness, of graciousness and wit, and one who loved those close to him deeply and without reservation.

Warren Norman