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Helen Peak
LSA Minutes


Professor Helen Peak was born March 17, 1900 in Dallas, Texas, and died October 28, 1985 in Texas. She graduated with distinction from The University of Texas in 1921, earned her master's degree at Radcliffe in 1924 and her doctorate at Yale in 1930. She later served as Professor of Psychology and Department Chairman at Randolph-Macon Woman's College and at Connecticut College, interspersing three years of wartime service as a research analyst for the federal government. In 1950 she was appointed Catharine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Psychology at The University of Michigan, where she remained until her retirement in 1970.

In a highly technical field, Peak maintained a classical interest in general patterns of cognition and broad configurations of attitude, while making special contributions to the understanding of the relationship between motivation and attitudes, and the effect of attitudes upon perception and acceptance of information. An enlivening influence among graduate students and honors undergraduates, she continued throughout her career her own program of thoughtful, careful scholarship. She generously lent, as well, wise counsel and quiet stimulation in a gracious, effective style to independent academic organizations and to major committees of her college, the Graduate School, and the University. She continued, furthermore, to render service to federal agencies, through both research and consultation.

In national organizational circles, she served The American Psychological Association as Chair of the Publication Board, Recording Secretary, and as a member of both the Board of Directors and the Policy and Planning Board. She was also Vice-President of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology, and a member of the Board of Editors of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Locally she was President of the Michigan Chapter of both Phi Beta Kappa and the American Association of University Professors, serving as well on the Midwestern Regional Committee for Marshall Scholarships. Among many other forms of national recognition were her fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and her Social Science Research Council Faculty Fellowship.

Professor Peak is survived by her niece, Dorothy Cook Campbell, of San Angelos, Texas.

Albert Cain