Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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DONALD JOHN VELDMAN
Donald John Veldman died on August 4, 2002. With his passing, the Department of Educational Psychology, the College of Education, and The University of Texas community lost an esteemed colleague, an innovative scholar, a productive researcher, and a loyal friend.
Don Veldman, son of Pearl Paalman Veldman and Harold Eugene Veldman, M.D., was born on December 24, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended the Grand Rapids public schools and graduated in 1949. He then enrolled in Hope College, Holland, Michigan, where he earned the A.B. degree in English in 1953.
While they were students at Hope College, Don met and became engaged to Janet Lou Soeter of New Brunswick, New Jersey. After graduation, Don was drafted into the U.S. Army in the fall of 1953. He served a 20-month tour of duty, which included journalism work in Inchon, Korea. Upon his return to the U.S. he married Janet on December 17, 1955, with whom he joyously shared the remainder of his life. They had four children: two daughters, Audrey and Catherine, and two sons, Gregory and Stuart.
In August of 1954, Don and Janet moved to Austin, Texas, where Don entered the clinical psychology program of the UT Austin Department of Psychology. He received the Ph.D. degree in 1960, at which time he was offered a faculty position in the UT Department of Educational Psychology as assistant professor. Don enjoyed a distinguished career at Texas, advancing in academic rank to associate professor in 1964 and professor in 1969.
Most of the courses that Don taught over the years were in the areas of statistics and research methodology. He taught numerous sections of two undergraduate courses: Introduction to Statistics, and Tests and Measurements. At the graduate level, he regularly taught Computer Methods in Research, and Fortran Programming. In his later years on the faculty, he taught the graduate course, Correlation and Regression, and developed and taught a new course, Meta-Analysis Methods. In addition, Don served as the chair or member of numerous doctoral dissertation committees. He spent countless hours mentoring and working with graduate students on research projects, especially in providing advice and consultation related to data analysis procedures.
Don also served in an administrative capacity for a number of research projects over the years. From 1962-67 he was the co-director of the Computer Analysis of Personality Project. From 1973-77 he was the director of the Project PRIME Data Analysis Unit. Also, he began a long association with the Research and Development Center for Teacher Education in 1965, first serving as coordinator of the assessment division and later as research scientist.
Don was among the first social scientists to envision the potential of the computer as a tool for conducting research, and he pioneered the development of statistical software packages that researchers now take for granted. Early on he became involved in writing and publishing software and related manuals to facilitate the application of statistical methodology to the analysis of educational and psychological data. His VSTAT and PRIME packages were used extensively for data analysis by many UT faculty and students and thereby made a significant contribution to their research productivity. As computer hardware evolved over several decades, Don continually adapted his software packages from mainframe capability (PRIME) to microcomputer compatibility (Pandora).
During his academic career Don’s publications numbered more than 100, including journal articles, book chapters, manuals, and research reports. In 1984 he was recognized in an article published in the Educational Researcher for his exceptional productivity and for the number of academic citations of his work. Additionally, he was the author or co-author of three books, most notably Introductory Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, co-authored with Robert K. Young of the UT Department of Psychology. The fourth edition of that book was published in 1981. The book was quite innovative in that it utilized a system of “programmed instruction” to provide students the opportunity for drill and practice and to evaluate their understanding of the statistical concepts being covered.
In recognition of his contributions to psychology, education, and research, Don was elected to Fellow status in Divisions 5 and 15 of the American Psychological Association. Also, he was a long-standing member of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education.
Don Veldman was a visionary and a pioneer in the use of computers and statistical software for the analysis of data in social science research. His contributions paved the way for generations of researchers who now routinely employ statistical computer packages for analysis of their data.
Don had a keen intellect and was an acknowledged authority in matters of applied statistics. In temperament Don was mild mannered and soft spoken, but he possessed a very dry sense of humor. Many an argument or discussion was settled and put into proper perspective due to an insightful quip or witticism from Don Veldman. We mourn his loss.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors William R. Koch (chair), Hugh B. Poyner, and Frank W. Wicker.