Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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S. Thomas Friedman was born on March 2, 1918 and died on August 9, 2002. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1938, with high honors in psychology, and worked as a psychologist at the Vocational Guidance Agency of Chicago from 1938-1941. He attended Northwestern University in 1940 and the University of Chicago, in 1941-42, where he earned a master’s degree. In 1942, he enlisted for flight training in the United States Army Air Force; he was commissioned as a navigator and flew a combat tour of 35 missions with the Eighth Air Force based in England. He received eight decorations and awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf clusters. After his return to the U.S. he worked on the Psychological Research Project of the Army Air Force where he investigated combat conditions throughout the world, the morale of combat personnel, and evaluated flight training in the U.S. He was honorably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant in 1945.

Tom worked as the executive director of the Southwestern Jewish Community Relations Council from 1946-1959. In this job, he worked in the area of community organization, community relations, and social research in Texas, Oklahoma, and northern Louisiana. In 1959, he became a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas and worked as a special instructor and teaching assistant. He also worked as a social science research associate IV in the Department of Sociology. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1963. He was an assistant professor of educational psychology at The University of Texas at Austin from 1964-67, and earned tenure in 1967. He retired in 1983.

While at the University, Tom taught the following undergraduate courses: Contemporary Social Problems, Introductory Psychology, Behavior Science Foundations of Secondary Education, Psychology of Cultural Deprivation, and Problems in Higher Education. Tom also taught the following graduate courses: Individual in Society, Individual Through the Life Cycle, Developmental Social Psychology, Social Attitudes and the Political Process, and Theories in Social Psychology.

Tom’s interests as a researcher were wide, as evidenced by the titles of his publications. His first publication, produced by the Army Air Force in 1945, was entitled, “Survey of Combat Conditions Throughout the World.” In 1951, he published an article in the Journal of Social Research entitled “Jewish Population Trends in the United States.” In 1963, he published the results of a study entitled “The Negro Student at the University of Texas, 1962,” which was published by the Religious Workers Association.

Many of his publications concerned social issues. For example, with John Pierce-Jones, he wrote, “Project Head Start: Teacher Interest and Commitment,” and “Temporal Stability and Change in Attitudes Toward the Kennedy Assassination.” With James H. Hogge, he published two articles, “The Scriptural Literalism Scale: A Preliminary Report.” One of his last scholarly publications was an article in the American Educational Research Journal entitled “Concept Learning among Anglo, Black, and Mexican-American Children: An Alternative to Genetic Racism.”

Tom chaired seven dissertation committees, which mirrored his interests in social issues and the application of social psychology to broader societal concerns. Topics included social class effects on adolescents, attitude and behavior change, social factors affecting minority group education, and personality and mental health.

After Tom’s retirement from UT, he and his wife, Minnie, continued to run Echo Hill Ranch, a summer camp for children. He continued this activity until his own death, long after Minnie died. Tom celebrated fifty years of camp life during the summer of 2002, an anniversary he had long awaited.

Tom Friedman is remembered among his colleagues as a man of considerable intelligence with a strong sense of humor and a kind heart. He was very proud of his children, Marcie Friedman, Roger Friedman, and Richard (Kinky) Friedman.



Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by Professors Toni Falbo (chair) and Ed Emmer.