Memorial service for former faculty member John Richard Hackman

There will be a memorial service on campus on Saturday, Jan. 26, for J. Richard Hackman, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University and a former Yale faculty member.

John Richard Hackman

Hackman died on Jan. 8 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 72. A service in his honor will take place at 2 p.m. in Battell Chapel, corner of Elm and College streets; burial will be in Grove Street Cemetery.

Hackman attended public schools in Virginia, Illinois, and received a B.A. in mathematics from MacMurray College (Jacksonville, Illinois) and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Illinois. In 1966, he joined the Yale University faculty of psychology and administrative sciences (which later developed into the School of Organization and Management), and then moved to the Harvard faculty of psychology and the Harvard Business School in 1986 also joining the Kennedy School of Government in later years.

He believed that many of the most important features of human behavior can be observed when individuals gather together in groups. He particularly focused on studying groups that operate in challenging organizational contexts — especially teams that must come up with creative solutions to challenging problems in real time. His most recent books are “Leading Teams: Setting the State for Great Performances,” which in 2004 won the Academy of Management’s Terry Award for the most outstanding management book of the year; “Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great,” with Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, and James A. Burruss; and “Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems.”

His honors include the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association’s division on industrial and organizational psychology; the Distinguished Educator Award, Distinguished Scholar Award, and Lifetime Achievement award in Organizational Behavior from the Academy of Management; and the Joseph E. McGrath Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Groups. Posthumously he will receive the American Psychological Foundation’s Gold Medal and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science for outstanding lifetime contributions to applied psychology. Hackman also received numerous awards for his teaching and mentoring, including the prestigious Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award by the Harvard Graduate Council.

Three of Hackman’s loves were music, fishing, and the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. He played the trombone in high school and college bands and later, with his wife Judith, in the Bethany Brass quintet. He was a member of the Brass Ring board of directors and at the time of his death was a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra board.

He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Judith Dozier Hackman; two daughters, Julia Beth Proffitt (W. Trexler) and Laura Dianne Codeanne (Matthew J.); four grandchildren, George Richard, Lauren Elizabeth, and Edward Marshall Proffitt and Mattox John Codeanne; one uncle, John E. Schaeffer; and three cousins.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York City, Nature Conservancy, Housatonic Valley Association, Charles River Watershed Association, Powder River Basin Resource Council in Sheridan, Wyoming, or MacMurray College.

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