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Passages: A loss to the community

October 22, 2009

I write to inform the Lewis & Clark community of the death of Volney Faw, Lewis & Clark professor emeritus in psychology, on September 10 at the age of 96.

Born in 1912, Professor Faw grew up in Yakima, Washington, moved to Redondo Beach, California and graduated from La Verne College, where he once debated and defeated a young Whittier College student, Richard M. Nixon, in the Regional Debate Championships. In 1936, he married Maurine, a fellow La Verne student, his wife for 72 years. He served in World War II and then completed his doctorate in social psychology at the University of Chicago before accepting a teaching position in psychology at Lewis & Clark College in 1946, only four years after Albany College had moved from Albany, Oregon, and we had changed our name to Lewis & Clark College.

He served as department chair from 1948-51 and taught a variety of courses in psychology, including introduction to psychology, statistics, experimental design, experimental lab, industrial and social psychology, history and systems of psychology, and individual differences until his retirement in 1977.

As is noted in his obituary in the Oregonian, October 3, 2009—“During his career he was noted for his published research on effective teaching techniques; often basing his work on the principles of client centered therapy espoused by his mentor and friend, Carl Rogers. To put his theories into practice outside the college classroom, he maintained a clinical practice and also founded, and served as director of College Preparatory Services, a program that prepared underachieving high school students for college. Professor Faw was also a noted student of hypnosis. He was a diplomat in clinical and experimental hypnosis and served as president of the Portland Academy of Hypnosis. Lewis & Clark students remember him introducing them to self-hypnosis as a technique for overcoming performance anxiety, particularly in his statistics and experimental design classes. “

Professor Faw’s legacy at Lewis & Clark continues with his son, Terry Faw ‘65, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a professor of psychology at the College. Terry currently serves as a member of our Board of Alumni.

I encourage you to read more about Volney’s life and to share his memory in the guest book at:

On behalf of the College that Volney Faw helped to build, I convey to his family both our condolences and our profound gratitude for a life well lived in our midst and beyond Palatine Hill.