-Contributed by Cathy Faye
In the 1940s, Robert Waldrop was in the middle of his graduate work in psychology at the University of Chicago. There, he worked with L.L. Thurstone and was fascinated by the work of a new assistant professor in the department, William Sheldon. However, as the war in Europe progressed, he signed up to serve as chaplain on the USS Benevolence, a Navy hospital ship (pictured below) that departed for the Pacific in 1945. The crew of the Benevolence would eventually experience the Japanese surrender and the liberation of prisoners of war.
After serving three tours of duty with the United State Navy, Waldrop completed his graduate education in psychology and went on to become a central figure in the development of counseling psychology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1948. Dr. Waldrop went to work for the Veterans Administration where he developed the counseling service in the Department of Medicine and Surgery. His work was fundamental to the creation of counseling psychology doctoral training programs across the United States.
Recently, CHP director Dr. David Baker sat down with Waldrop and asked him to recall his experiences on the USS Benevolence during the Second World War. The recording of that conversation is available here.