Dr. John Shaughnessy, who continued to serve at Hope this fall even after closing his 40-year career on the psychology faculty with retirement last spring, died on Wednesday, Dec. 16, following a brief illness. He was 68.
He retired as professor emeritus of psychology at the end of the 2014-15 school year after teaching at the college since 1975. His classes included his signature course, Research Methods, in which he taught more than 2,500 students across his career, as well as Practical Aspects of Memory, Senior Seminar and Advanced Research Lab. His favorite professional activity, however, was collaborating with students on research examining how to improve people’s memory for names.
In April of 1992, Hope’s graduating seniors selected him as the college’s “Hope Outstanding Professor Educator,” and in 2008 he received the “Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award.” He delivered the college’s Opening Convocation address in the fall of 1992 and Hope’s Commencement address in May of 1996, and was invited by the college’s chapter of Mortar Board to speak through the Last Lecture Series in 2011.
He chaired the Department of Psychology from the spring of 1997 through the spring of 2000. He was also a presenter during the college’s Winter Happening—discussing “Just How Bad Are Our Memories?”—in January 2003.
A Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science, he co-authored three research-methods books: “Research Methods in Psychology”; “Essentials of Research Methods in Psychology”; and “Experimentation in Psychology.” His publications also included multiple articles in scholarly journals, and he had presented his research at the national meetings of a variety of professional associations.
Shaughnessy graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree and completed his doctorate at Northwestern University in 1972. He taught at Northwestern University and the University of California at Berkeley before coming to Hope.
Survivors include his wife, Paula, who is a member of the staff of the Hope-Geneva Bookstore.
A memorial mass will be celebrated 11 a.m., Monday, December 28, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 195 W. 13th Street, Holland. A time of visitation will be from 9:30-10:45 a.m. prior to the mass. Memorial contributions to Hope College. Complete obituary is available online