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Grad fellowship established in psychologist's memory

by Leslie Loveless - February 9, 2009


Carolina Herfkens, widow of the late psychology professor J. Conrad Schwarz, has established a new graduate fellowship endowment in his memory.

J. Conrad Schwarz joined UConn’s psychology department in 1972, serving in the clinical division. Much of his research examined the effects of family dynamics on personality development in children. He is remembered for his commitment to graduate education, in particular, and was also largely responsible for founding the on-campus Psychology Services Clinic, a training facility for graduate students in clinical psychology that provides campus-based mental health services.

Schwarz died in 2003.

Herfkens’ initial gift of $25,000 allocates $5,000 directly to a spending account for immediate use. An additional gift to the fund of $125,000 is pledged in her estate plan. Herfkens says that she feels very grateful to be able to make a gift like this to honor her husband’s lifelong work as a researcher, teacher, and mentor.

Psychology department head Charles “Skip” Lowe remembers Schwarz’s accomplishments in both research and training.

“Usually people focus on one or the other, but he really found a way to balance both in his work,” says Lowe.

Schwarz published more than 100 papers during the course of his career. He also served as a consulting editor for Developmental Psychology, one of the top journals in the field, and maintained a private clinical practice while advising many students, some of whom went on to highly successful careers in psychology.

J. Conrad Schwarz
The late Prof. J. Conrad Schwarz
Photo supplied by UConn Foundation

In the 1980s, Schwarz and Herfkens (an educational psychologist) co-developed a computer software program to help teach reading skills to children with dyslexia.

Schwarz also was in charge of the psychology department’s ethics committee for many years, a position that he took seriously, according to Lowe.

“This was before there were Institutional Review Boards to make sure that research with human subjects was done ethically,” says Lowe.

The endowment will support graduate training in clinical psychology, with priority given to students with an interest in studying the effects of family dynamics or childhood disorders on personality development in children.

Lowe says the first fellowships were awarded in the fall.

Herfkens wants her gift to honor the psychology department as well as her late husband.

She says she and Schwarz formed many close friendships with members of the department faculty during their three decades living in Storrs.

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