Andy Lehrer - Doctorate: Psychology, 2005


Professor Lee Willerman (1939-1997) forever lives on through countless lives touched and inspired by his humanity. A treasured teacher and researcher intrigued by the underpinnings of human behavior, Dr. Willerman never let his matchless intellect overshadow his compassion. Indeed, his compassion was the compass that navigated an insatiable curiosity. He didn’t only want to know why; he had to know how to help.

And he wanted others to know. A favorite memory arose as a call to tolerance from Lee’s familiar soothing cadence, a voice many can still hear as neurons caress synapses to recreate his gentle, knowing tone. You see, Professor Willerman had in this captivating moment set aside all theories and equations of behavioral genetics and instead asked of his students the duty to recall an important and meaningful realization whenever they encountered an elderly driver moving far too slowly, most likely wearing some kind of odd hat. “Always remember,” Lee said, “they’re doing the best they can.”

Lee’s spirit and essence challenge us now to all do the best we can, to learn as much as we can, and to help those in need. You were and are a mentor and an inspiration. Thank you, Dr. Willerman, for everything. It will always be a privilege. And in the fullness of time, I tip my odd hat to you.


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