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Conrad L. Kraft - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Arts - 1939 - Psychology
Master of Arts - 1947 - Psychology
Conrad Kraft's expertise in engineering psychology has, for 54 years, contributed to airline pilot training, and provided solutions to visual and perceptual problems which led to airline crashes. He's consulted in public and private sectors, notably for the National Institute of Health, the USAF, and NATO. He was Boeing's chief scientist in crew technology and manager of engineering psychology for 23 years.
Kraft, who earned his PhD at Ohio State, was on the University of Washington faculty from 1975 to his 1987 retirement. He also served as dean of Seattle International University from 1985-86. He currently consults, lectures, and researches in his field at Seattle's "UW." The American Psychological Association chose Kraft as the first recipient of its Distinguished Service Award for Applications of Psychological Principles. He's won the Outstanding Achievement Award, Puget Sound Chapter of the Human Factor Society and the International Flight Safety Foundation's Distinguished Service Award. A favorite UW memory is of a campus uproar he caused -- and paid for: "I entered and won a homecoming photography contest, but one of my non-winning entries got more attention. It was a montage, a circular image with vertical and horizontal crosshairs. Within it was the exterior of a Hoyt Hall window, behind which was a Varga drawing of a girl, clipped from Esquire. I titled it 'A lawyer's concept of an engineer's work.' It helped resurrect a student lawyer-engineer feud which came to a head at the engineers ball. The lawyers released a large number of rats on the Half-Acre gym's dance floor. Since I fed and watered the comparative psych research rats, it fell to me to collect and return as many as possible of the rodents to their lab cages. So my photograph backfired on me, its unknown originator, as I was not a popular dance partner or escort that evening!"