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Albert S. Thompson: Grace Dodge Society Founding Member

On November 16, the newly formed Grace Dodge Society met at the home of President Arthur Levine for an inaugural luncheon honoring its founding members. Among them was Professor Emeritus Albert S. Thompson, who joined the TC faculty in 1949 in the Psychology Department, where he was an expert in vocational psychology and guidance.

The Grace Dodge Society is an honorary society created in 2001 to recognize and thank those alumni, faculty and friends who have included Teachers College in their gift plans. Thompson, a long-time participant in the Teachers College Pooled Income Fund, has also established two Charitable Gift Annuities to benefit Teachers College. His gifts will support the Albert S. and Ruby R. Thompson Scholarship Fund for students studying either psychology or music at Teachers College. His wife, Ruby, who had a successful career as a musician, maintained close contact with many members of the TC Music Department, "so it seemed appropriate to honor her in this fund," Thompson said. Another reason for the decision to support a music student is based on his daughter Lois's status as a TC alumna. Lois (now Forbes) received an Ed.D. in Music Education in 1986.

Hired by Harry Dexter Kitson, an early pioneer in the vocational guidance movement, Thompson was recommended by his mentor Morris Viteles, a professor and an early leader in industrial psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Thompson, whose career at Teachers College went into the 1980s (beyond his official retirement), was made full professor in 1954, and included service as Coordinator of the Program in Personnel Psychology, Department Chair from 1964 to 1970, Director of the Psychological Consultation Center in 1974, and after his retirement in 1975, service as Academic Ombudsman from 1977 to 1986. He also coordinated a New York State Education Department project that involved evaluation of doctoral programs offered by TC.

Aside from his work at the College, Thompson was active in various other areas of his field. As an industrial consultant for Ed Glaser and Associates, he conducted managerial evaluations, job satisfaction studies and supervisor training. He served as president of the New York State Psychological Association in 1956 and was a key force in procuring the first certifcation law for psychologists in New York. He was also active in the APA, acting as chair of various committees and president of Division 17 in 1963.

In that role, he played a crucial part in organizing the Greyston Conference at TC in 1964, which was a forum for a vigorous debate about the state of affairs in counseling psychology and the call for counseling to merge with clinical. The group made 32 recommendations as a result of that meeting and came to the agreement that counseling psychology had its own particular substance and emphasis.

His interests were clearly in the world of work, looking at it from the points of view of both the individual and industry, and exploring the meaning of work, as well. His paper Career Development and Guidance in a Changing World of Work (1968) outlined his theory of five fallacies that need to be modified for personnel needs to be met and for education to be meaningful for all.

As part of the Grace Dodge Society, Thompson is one of more than 200 alumni and friends of the College who have chosen to include Teachers College in their gift plans. Named after Grace Hoadley Dodge, co-founder and principal benefactor of Teachers College during its early history, the Society honors her commitment to the College and reflects the same dedication of its members. Members have supported TC by including a bequest provision in their wills, naming Teachers College as a beneficiary of a charitable trust, retirement plan, or insurance policy, or participating in the Teachers College Charitable Gift Annuity Program or Pooled Income Fund.

For more information about the Grace Dodge Society or how to include Teachers College in your gift plans, please contact Joseph S. Brosnan, Vice President for Development and External Affairs, (212) 678-3755 or e-mail us at giftplan@exchange.tc.columbia.edu. Inquiries are kept confidential.

If you have already provided for Teachers College in your long-range plans, we thank you for your generous support of TC's mission.

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