Group of Alumni and Friends Create New Endowed Professorship

Posted on May 22nd, 2014 by

Dr. Richard Martin, Dr. Barbara Simpson, and Dr. Timothy Robinson.

Dr. Richard Martin, Dr. Barbara Simpson, and Dr. Timothy Robinson.

Three distinguished Gustavus professors in the Department of Psychological Science—Dr. Richard Martin, Dr. Tim Robinson ’65, and Dr. Barbara Simpson—are all retiring this spring and their significant impact on the department and the College will be felt for a long time. On Thursday, May 22, at the College’s faculty meeting, President Jack Ohle made an announcement that will forever recognize those three faculty members in the story and history of the College.

In making the announcement, President Ohle shared with the faculty that a group of alumni and friends of the Psychological Science Department joined together to support the creation of a new Endowed Professor position in honor of the three retiring faculty. “The Martin, Robinson, and Simpson Endowed Professor of Psychological Science was the result of the inspiration of two graduates, Susie ’83 and Steve ’81 Heim of Edina, Minn., who championed the project as a way to honor the three,” President Ohle said.

“These three faculty members have given more than 130 years of service to the College and have influenced and mentored thousands of Gustavus students,” said Susie Heim, who had all three of the faculty members as professors during her four years at Gustavus. “Steve and I felt that they deserved to be honored in a way that will allow their legacy to carry on for years to come.”

The three retirees joined the Gustavus faculty around the same time with Robinson starting in 1969, Martin in 1970, and Simpson in 1971. Together, they shaped the curriculum and direction of the department for the next four decades and made psychology one of the most popular majors on campus.

Robinson served a four-year term as Dean of the College and is also a former Faculty Senate leader. He also played a crucial role in the development of the Nobel Conference as one of the premier educational conferences in the country when he served as the Conference’s director from 2000 to 2008.

Simpson is another former Faculty Senate leader who also spent many years working on the Faculty Personnel Committee. In addition to her faculty position, Simpson served the College for many years as a student counselor. She also spent many years raising awareness for gender equity on campus and beyond and was named Woman of the Year by Minnesota Women in Higher Education in 1988. Simpson has also been actively engaged in the Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation process, serving as a site visitor at institutions across the country.

Martin is a respected developmental psychologist who served many years on the Faculty Senate and numerous other committees. Martin made his mark at Gustavus by collaborating with students on research and mentoring other students during their first year at Gustavus. He chaired two Nobel Conferences and developed an Adult Psychology class that continues to be among the most popular courses in the department with students.

The new professorship is the eighth endowed faculty position established by Gustavus since the College’s strategic planning process, Commission Gustavus 150, was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2010 with a goal of establishing ten new endowed professorships by the fall of 2015.

“Endowed positions play a crucial role in recruiting and retaining the highest quality faculty and building this strong base of faculty talent enriches the academic environment, which in turn attracts the brightest students,” Vice President for Institutional Advancement Tom Young said. “The Advancement Office was proud to collaborate on this project with our faculty and alumni.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Kyhl Thomson says:

    What a great tribute to some great people. Well done.

  2. Pastor Rod Anderson says:

    Richard, Barbara, Tim, Steve and Susan,

    What a spectacular collaboration that will make a lasting difference in the psychology department that has already been blessed by you for such a long time already! You have made your lives COUNT for the College and beyond in magnificent ways!

    This is not “retiring” from Gustavus…this is “refiring Gustavus with a lasting spirit of commitment!!

    Thank you and God Bless!
    Pastor Rod Anderson