Raymond F. Mosher

Raymond F. Mosher, age 94, died Nov. 8 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was born in 1906 in Pittsfield, Mass., the son of Fred and Hattie Mosher.

An emeritus professor in the Electrical Engineering Department, Mosher taught courses in power systems for the College of Engineering 1957–76.

A 1929 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he went on to obtain a master’s of science in electrochemical engineering from MIT in 1930. He worked for Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and General Electric Co., and on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Mosher taught at the University of Vermont and at the Dartmouth College Thayer School of Engineering before coming to the University of Michigan.

In retirement, Mosher was active in the U-M Annuitants Association, the Thursday Noon Men’s Luncheon Club, St. Andrew’s Breakfast Program and the First Congregational Church.

He is survived by his daughter Carole J. Mahoney of Underhill, Vt., and his son Michael R. Mosher of Bay City, formerly of California. His first wife Mae, his second wife Mary, a daughter Glenna and a brother Varney predeceased him.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the House by the Side of the Road, 4133 Washtenaw, Ann

Arbor MI 48108. A memorial service will be held at First Congregational Church, 608 E. William St., Ann Arbor, at noon Dec. 17.

Submitted by the family

Donald N. Michael

Donald N. Michael, professor emeritus of planning and public policy, died Nov. 5 at his home in San Francisco. He is survived by Geoffrey, his son; Graceann, his daughter-in-law; Margo Michael, his dear friend and former wife of Ann Arbor; and many colleagues and friends throughout the world with whom he shared inquiry and interests. Don was educated at Harvard University where he received the degrees S.B. (physics) and Ph.D. (social psychology), and the University of Chicago where he received an M.A. (sociology).

Michael, a social psychologist with a background in the natural sciences, retired from the University in 1981 and moved to San Francisco, where he continued his active scholarship and other professional activities along with his ever deepening engagement with the natural environment, human nature and self. He was a gifted teacher and mentor of many people from a wide variety of backgrounds to whom he attentively listened, vigorously responded and thoughtfully challenged, and in ongoing relationships lovingly supported. Don was widely respected and often sought out for his deep honesty and openness in examining the most difficult societal problems in ways that included rigorous attention to existing knowledge grounded in science and, increasingly over time, other epistemologies as well. Coupled with this strength was his well-recognized and very insightful understanding of human nature and its implications for knowing, illusion and moral responsibility, and his clarity in discussing these complex and often subtle topics. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the World Academy of Art and Science. He also was a member of the Club of Rome, a founding member of the U.S. Association of the Club of Rome and a member of the Global Business Network.

Michael came to the University in 1967 after many years in Washington, where he worked in different positions that included ones with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Science Foundation, the Brookings Institution and the Peace Research Institute. At Michigan he held a joint appointment as professor of planning and public policy in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and professor of psychology. Don was a leader in the University’s Rackham-based, interdisciplinary Ph. D. program, Urban and Regional Planning (now the Urban, Technological and Environmental Planning Program in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning). He was a major contributor to this program’s core seminar, other courses and individual work with students. Also while at Michigan, he was a program director at the Institute for Social Research in its Center for Research on the Utilization of Scientific Knowledge.

Throughout his career, Michael focused on a wide range of emerging societal problems and the usefulness and limitations of scientific knowledge in responding to these problems and in understanding processes of individual, organizational and social change. Early in his career he investigated and wrote about the human impacts of nuclear attack, dynamics of arms control, social impacts of space exploration and implications of cybernation. In mid-career, he investigated the prospects for youth in the face of unprecedented social changes, impacts of new technologies and technology assessment, growing urban problems and the implications of conducting long-range social planning as a process of societal change.

His books include Cybernation: The Silent Conquest (1962), The Next Generation: Prospects Ahead for the Youth of Today and Tomorrow (1962), The Unprepared Society: Planning for a Precarious Future (1968) and Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn: The Social Psychology of Changing Toward Future-Responsive Societal Learning. (1973, republished in 1997 with a new introduction).

In the final years of his life, Michael focused on the complexity and uncertainty associated with the increasing scale and intensity of interacting impacts of human systems and biophysical systems and on the latest research on human functioning. His final work and writing as he described it focused on: “(1) the function of myth systems in social change, especially how beliefs about human nature affect personal, organizational and societal change and (2) understanding better the role of unconscious needs and motives (genetically and culturally sourced) in the behavior of leaders, decision makers and organization members and their interplay with the social construction of reality.” These are among the most important topics for better understanding the possibilities and limitations of the growing pursuit of sustainability in the face of the increasing evidence of global and local unsustainability both environmentally and socially.

His most recent and, to my knowledge, final publication is a challenging culminating statement formulated and tested over the period that he knew would be his final opportunity to communicate these ideas. In his characteristic way he initially presented the core ideas of this article orally. He did this in his 1998 remarks at the time he was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center of San Francisco. Subsequently, he offered these ideas orally and in writing for discussion and feedback to other scholars and practitioners with whom he was collaborating on issues surrounding the pursuit of sustainability. This led to the final presentation of these ideas in “Some Observations with Regard to a Missing Elephant,” that was published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Winter 2000, 8–16). After carefully describing the extent and implications of human ignorance and its roots, he leaves his readers with eight ways he found helpful in responding to this state of not knowing. To quote him in part, “Number seven is that one must be a learner/teacher, a wary guide, an explorer in the wilderness. Be question askers all the time, not answer givers” (p.16). Donald Michael exemplified such a learner/teacher, guide and explorer, as well as the practice of compassion that he advocates in his eighth and final suggestion to his readers. “Be as self-conscious as possible, as much of the time as possible and thereby recognize that we all live in illusion, we all live in ignorance, and we all search for and need meaning. We all need help facing that reality, and that help goes by the name of practicing compassion”(p. 16).

I am thankful for Don Michael’s life and truth-seeking, and I am grateful to have been his student, faculty colleague and friend.

Submitted by James Crowfoot, professor emeritus of natural resources and urban and regional planning and dean emeritus, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Henry Meyer

Henry J. Meyer, professor emeritus of social work, died Oct. 29 at University Hospital. He was 87.

Meyer, who taught at the U-M in 1957-78, is perhaps best known nationally for his 1965 landmark study “Girls at Vocational High: An Experiment in Social Work Intervention.” This research analyzed the effects of social work services on the lives of girls at inner-city high schools.

Another important work, “School, Family and Neighborhood: Theory and Practice of School-Community Relations,” investigated links between families and school systems.

The author and editor of more than a dozen books and monographs and some 50 articles, Meyer’s teaching and research covered such broad interests as sociological and social psychology theory, labor disputes, evaluations of mental health and family service programs, community organization, population policy and professionalization of social work.

At the U-M, Meyer developed and headed the interdisciplinary doctoral program in social work and social science, the first program of its kind in the nation. After stepping down as head of the program in 1970, he directed an interdisciplinary training program in family and population planning for students from developing nations.

“Henry’s vision and leadership allowed the country’s first joint program in social work and social science to grow and flourish, and to become a jewel in the crown within the University,” says Paula Allen-Meares, dean of the School of Social Work. “Henry was a wonderful colleague who not only was a scholar of great integrity but also was a warm and thoughtful friend to everyone, and we all will miss him greatly.”

Prior to coming to Michigan, Meyer taught at what is now Washington State University (1939–42) and at New York University (1946–57). During World War II, he worked for the National War Labor Board as vice chair of the National Telephone Commission and as chair of the Wage Stabilization Board.

Through the years, Meyer was involved in training social workers from Asia, was a consultant to the University of Singapore and to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and served as an adviser to the Council on Social Work Education; the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and to many social service agencies.

In 1974, he was the first social work educator to receive the U-M Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and in 1998, the U-M established the Henry J. Meyer Collegiate Professorship.

Born April 9, 1913, Meyer was raised in Mississippi and later attended Michigan, where he earned bachelor’s (1934), master’s (1937) and doctoral (1939) degrees in sociology.

He is survived by wife Suzanne of Ann Arbor; children Joseph (Jane) Meyer of Baltimore and Claire (Asher) Galed of Huntington Woods, Mich.; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Dec. 10 at Schorling Auditorium in the School of Education Building. Memorial contributions may be made to the Henry J. Meyer Scholarship Fund, School of Social Work, 1080 South University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, or to a charity of choice.

Submitted by the School of Social Work


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