Robert Glaser Jan. 18, 1921 -- Feb. 4, 2012 Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center Founder Was an Inspiration

By Luna, Taryn | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), February 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

Robert Glaser Jan. 18, 1921 -- Feb. 4, 2012 Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center Founder Was an Inspiration


Luna, Taryn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Robert Glaser is renowned in the academic world for co-founding the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, but many of his achievements aren't the kind you'll see on paper.

"When LRDC was formed, there were half a dozen centers like that all being spun off from Washington," said Carnegie Mellon University psychology professor David Klahr. "By any reckoning, it is the most successful of all of them. I think a lot of that is owed to Bob's talent and skills."

The LRDC is a nationally recognized institution that has been bringing together leading researchers in the cognitive, social and educational sciences since 1963.

Mr. Glaser authored and edited more than 20 books and 220 articles in his five-decade career focusing on the psychology of learning, cognition and instruction. Among a slew of honors, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and served as president of the American Educational Research Association.

His impact is also evident by the emails and calls Pitt has received from as far away as the Middle East to Belgium as his former students learned of his Saturday death after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 91.

"There's an awful lot of people around the world who owe their careers to him," said Alan Lesgold, dean of the Pitt School of Education.

Mr. Lesgold, who was recruited to Pitt by Mr. Glaser in 1971, said he set a high standard of quality for the LRDC.

"There was never a script of mine that he didn't have a few more suggestions on," he said. "That really set a standard of 'work on it till you get I right.' "

His work ethic, he said, made others around him better.

"We all worked pretty hard because Bob worked even harder," Mr. Lesgold said.

Mr. Glaser studied at The City College of New York after growing up two miles from Yankee Stadium in New York.

He served a tour with the Army in World War II and helped conduct psychological testing on men who were training to become bombers. …

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