MU professor stood out in field of psychology

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:13 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

Robert Strongman Daniel died Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004, at Lenoir Health Care Center. He was 90.

Dr. Daniel was an influential figure in teaching psychology. He was an MU professor emeritus of psychology and the founding editor of “Teaching of Psychology,” an academic journal.

“He took a psychology newsletter and made it into a journal read around the world,” said Michael Daniel, Robert Daniel’s son.

Dr. Daniel began teaching at MU in 1945. He was chairman of the psychology department from 1955 to 1961, and he retired in 1984. The American Psychological Association awarded him its Distinguished Teaching Award in 1975.

“He provided a model for how a person should help others in the field of psychology,” said Jim Korn, a Saint Louis University psychology professor and friend of Dr. Daniel’s.

Michael Daniel said his father was both a wonderful person and a wonderful father.

“He was the very typical college professor,” he said. “He was always working and always taking work home with him. But he still made time for his family.”

Korn said Dr. Daniel was a kind and generous person.

“He was a very distinguished man, in an old-fashioned kind of way,” he said. “But he wasn’t stuffy.”

Dr. Daniel was born Jan. 2, 1914, in Pikeville, Ky., to Mary and the Rev. Gilbert Daniel. He married Nola Margaret Hicks on Dec. 12, 1940. Dr. Daniel earned his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and his doctorate from Indiana University. After coming to MU, he was the chairman of the Faculty Council in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dr. Daniel was a charter member of the Broadway Christian Church, served on the Boone County Committee on Aging, and was a member of the University of Missouri Retiree Association and the Columbia Railfans.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Jan. 31 at Broadway Christian Church.

Dr. Daniel is survived by his wife, Nola; his sister, Nancy, of Indianapolis; his two children, Kathryn Daniel Ottinger and Michael Joseph Daniel, both of Columbia; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be sent to the Mid-Missouri Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, 1121 Business Loop 70 E., Columbia, Mo., 65202, or to the Robert S. Daniel Junior Faculty Teaching Award, c/o Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 65211-2500.

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