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In Memoriam: Slater Newman

Slater Newman
Slater Newman

Slater Edmund Newman, professor emeritus of psychology, passed away on May 13, 2015.

Newman joined NC State’s psychology faculty in 1957, and remained active within the college long after retiring in 2003. At NC State, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in cognitive psychology, conducted research on human learning and memory and mentored hundreds of students who remember him fondly for his encouragement, high expectations and fairness. He was well known for his love of singing, his sense of humor, and his commitment to human rights and peace. He could be found every month for 35 years at the Vigil for Disarmament on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.

At NC State, Newman founded the Human Rights Week Committee and served as faculty advisor for the student chapters of Amnesty International and Psi Chi, the international honor society for Psychology. He was awarded the Holladay Medal of Excellence and established the Slater E. Newman Scholarship Endowment in 1997 to support first-year students in Psychology.

Within the field of psychology, he founded the Southeastern Workers in Memory, the NC Cognition Group and was a co-founder of the Carolinas Conference for Undergraduate Research in Psychology. He served on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Psychological Association, and as National President of Psi Chi. He was a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Psychonomic Society.

As a human rights and peace activist, Newman helped found the ACLU of North Carolina and its Wake County chapter; North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty; North Carolinians Against Apartheid; North Carolinians for the Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina, Citizens Against Nuclear Power; and the Committee to Reverse the Arms Race — and was active in the governance of each.

“Slater touched the lives of hundreds of students—and was deeply respected and admired by his faculty colleagues,” said Jeff Braden, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “His humor, his intellect and his unwavering passion for human rights will be missed by many on the campus and in the community.”

Newman is survived by his wife of 46 years, Pat, by three sons and their families, and by an extended network of family, friends, former students and colleagues.

A memorial service to celebrate Slater Newman’s life will be held at a future date. Contributions may be made to the Slater E. Newman Scholarship, with checks payable to the NC State University Foundation, Inc., c/o Humanities and Social Sciences Office of Development, Box 7016, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7016 or online; to the ACLU of North Carolina, P.O. Box 28004, Raleigh, NC, 27611; or to a charity of one’s choice.

This article draws from an obituary in the Raleigh News and Observer.