Karl E. Scheibe
Year Graduated: 

Normally, I would probably not respond to general invitations of this sort.  But I was surprised, awakened, let us say, by the news that the psychology department will soon be vacating Tolman Hall.  This does seem to me an epochal event, for I believe that I was one of the first students of psychology at Berkeley to finish my Ph.D. on those quarters.  I came to Berkeley in 1959 and finished my Ph.D. in 1963.  My memory would have me in LSB until 1962, when I moved into the Toknab Hall room where I would perform my research and write my thesis.  My degree was awarded in September 1963. 


I daresay that I am among a small number of people who can still remember Edward Tolman.  He was a person of quiet dignity and a powerful presence.  I believe that he died in my first year at Berkeley.


My dissertation advisor was Ted Sarbin, who left Berkeley in 1969 to finish out his career at UC Santa Cruz.  Jack Block was the chair of my orals committee.  I also worked closely with Harrison Gough.  My education in the department at Berkeley has served me exceedingly well over the years, even though during the four years of graduate study, I and my classmates had lots of critical things to say.  It was a distinguished faculty--and one that encouraged challenge rather than confomithy to the received word.  The demands of the program were rigorous, even though the course requirements were minimal. People commonly failed examinations.  One had to work hard and to know the material.


I took a job at Wesleyan University in my final semester at Berkeley.  I have been here for my entire career--except for several sabbatical years in Brazil, where I learned Portuguese and taught periodically.  I also have taught for periods at UC Santa Cruz and at USC. 


I have published six books and have two in press.  One of the books in press is an homage to Ted Sarbin, The Storied Nature of Human Life:  The Life and Work of Theodore R. Sarbin.  I met Ted as an entering student at Berkeley and remained in active collaboration and deep friendship with him until his death in 2005, at age 94.  My other book in press is a sequel to The Drama of Everyday Life (Harvard, 2000).  It is entitled Deep Drama:  Explorations in Psychology and Theater.  Both books are to be released this year by Palgrave/Macmillan.  You can see that Sarbin has had an enduring effect on my life and work.


For the last dozen years, after my retirement from the active faculty at Wesleyan, I have been Director of the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty--and in this capacity have met several people from the retirement center on your campus.  This year, I am finally stepping away from the directorship of our center.  But I will continue to have an office here and will continue writing.


Thank you for this opportunity to reintroduce myself to the Psychology Department at Berkeley.




Karl Scheibe


Professor of Psychiology, Emeritus