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Richard Pasewark* - 2004 - Outstanding Former Faculty
New York native Richard Pasewark originally came to the University of Wyoming as the first psychologist in the newly created Division of Mental Health. He was quickly appointed director of the division. Pasewark immediately fell in love with Wyoming, and considered his coming to this state a stroke of luck.
In 1961, Pasewark joined the UW Department of Psychology faculty. “I think, and hope, that I adjusted fairly well to academe and UW,” Pasewark said. “Coming from the service arena, I was thrilled at the delightfully unique notion that you were paid to read and explore questions you might have. However, in some ways, I believe I remained different. This mainly had to do with priorities and loyalties perhaps resulting from a prior service orientation and state-level work. I suspect, at times, I must have annoyed some by remarking injudiciously that securing and financing a good warden or welfare director was probably more important than a good professor or dean.”
Pasewark did more than talk about serving the state. He worked hard to ensure that people in Wyoming had access to the best possible mental health care. He established the Southeast Wyoming Mental Health center in Laramie, Albany, Plate, and Goshen Counties, and although he is very humble about taking credit, he also was instrumental in helping the UW clinical psychology program to become accredited. He also was pivotal in developing a doctoral program in psychology.
Among his numerous honors and awards, Pasewark received the George Duke Humphrey Award (1976), was nominated for the CASE National Professor of the Year Award (1983), and was elected Fellow of the American Psychology Association’s Division of Clinical Psychology (1984). He published numerous articles on forensic psychology. Professor Narina Nunez, chair of the Department of Psychology, noted that Pasewark’s writings concerning the insanity plea are still cited today.
A dedicated educator, Pasewark often incorporated humor into his classes, and he treated his students with utmost respect. Former graduate students Karen Sandstrom and Jane Taucher once wrote of their beloved professor: “He offers to lend us money (his own) to participate in workshops and conventions; he brings coffee to us when we are working late; he visits us in the hospital when we are ill; he conducts guided tours of the Psychology Department to our parents when they visit; he provides steaks for class picnics; and he worries about us constantly.”
Deeply humble, Pasewark said that he is honored to receive the Outstanding Former faculty Award. “With or without the award though,” he noted, “I have always been very grateful to Wyoming and UW for the opportunities and consideration it provided me. It is not everyone who is lucky enough to find a satisfying place to work and live for 37 years.”
*In loving memory.