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In Memoriam: Celebrating William Bevan
Former AAAS Executive Officer and Science Publisher William Bevan died Monday, 19 February. He was 84.
A cognitive psychologist, Bevan was the second executive officer of AAAS, filling the role from 1970 until 1974, after the late Dael Wolfe and before the late Bill Carey, during a period of intense change within the higher-education and scientific communities.
"Bill Bevan was among a small vanguard of scientists who rose to new societal challenges beginning in the 1960s and provided a positive vision of public accountability for the science and engineering professions," said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of Science. "His tenure at AAAS was a creative, dynamic period, marked by changes that strengthened the association and required steady, objective leadership."
During Bevan's service as executive officer, for example, changes at AAAS included the enactment of the association's seventh constitution and bylaws; the development of the Committee on Opportunities in Science as well as the Office of International Science, the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy, Section X (Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering), and the Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows Program (all in 1973); the creation of the AAAS-ABA National Conference on Lawyers & Scientists; and the emergence of the Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program (both in 1974).
Bevan completed his undergraduate degree at Franklin and Marshall College, earned his master's and doctoral degrees in experimental psychology at Duke in 1948, and served in the U.S. Navy. A native of Plains, Pa., and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oslo, Norway, he held an array of university positions, including roles as provost and vice president of Johns Hopkins University. Following his service with AAAS, Bevan returned to Duke as the William Preston Few Professor of Psychology, and served as Duke's provost from 1979 to 1983. Later in his career, Bevan served until his retirement in 1991 as vice president and director of the health program of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
A Duke University statement notes that Bevan founded the Talent Identification Program (TIP), which seeks to identify, challenge and inspire intellectually gifted children. "Dr. Bevan was a true visionary and capable leader who was instrumental in the founding of Duke TIP 27 years ago," said Program Director and Duke Professor Martha Putallaz. "His vision and continued commitment and generosity have enriched the lives of almost 2 million gifted students, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential. He will be sorely missed."
Stephen D. Nelson, associate director of Science and Policy at AAAS, recalls being a "disillusioned" nuclear-engineering major at Kansas State University when he first met Bevan, who at that time was the institution's psychology department chair. Nelson recalled an academic-counseling session with Bevan as life-changing. Following the conversation, Nelson said: "I embarked on a career that took me beyond a Ph.D. degree in social-behavioral science and into career lines that even Bill had not mentioned." Nelson later worked at the American Psychological Association when Bevan became president of that group, which established The William Bevan Annual Lecture Series on Psychology and Public Policy in 1993. "I feel very fortunate to have known Bill Bevan," Nelson said.
Bevan is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and by one brother, three sons, and nine grandchildren.
1 March 2007