Fall 2017 Newsletter | PBS Remembers

George Levinger

Feb. 5, 1927 – July 3, 2017

George Levinger, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, began his academic career in clinical psychology at Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his master’s degree. He earned a doctorate in social psychology at the University of Michigan in 1955. Levinger taught at the Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Social Research and later at Western Reserve University. In 1965, he joined UMass Amherst, becoming a full professor in 1967.

George did pioneering research on interpersonal attraction and close relationships, publishing dozens of scholarly articles and co-editing or co-authoring three influential books: “Close Relationships: Perspectives on the Meaning of Intimacy,” “Divorce and Separation: Context, Causes, and Consequences,” and “Close Relationships.” He also served as editor of The Journal of Social Issues from 1984 to 1987. He retired in 1992.

George and his wife Ann Cotton, school psychologist and lecturer in the UMass College of Education, used their own long relationship as a case study for their 2003 jointly authored article “Winds of Time and Place: How Context Has Affected a 50-Year Marriage.”

Ann and George strongly believed in and practiced nonviolence. During the 1960's and 1970's they were active in such causes as the Civil Rights movement and attended vigils and demonstrations in opposition to the Vietnam War. In his academic career, George used his knowledge of interpersonal conflict to develop ways of promoting nonviolent conflict resolution in the international community. He continued to publish articles on the psychology of conflict and peace well into retirement. Both Ann and George continued to participate in numerous efforts toward social justice and were active in the Quaker Alternatives to Violence Project, teaching conflict resolution skills to prison inmates in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The positive influence of their teaching and volunteer work has affected many people both locally and nationally. 

Among their many post-retirement adventures, they spent several months teaching English to schoolchildren in China and Vietnam. They were members of the Mount Toby Friends Meeting in Leverett for 52 years.

George Levinger, 90, of Amherst, professor emeritus of psychology, died July 3, 12 days after the passing of his wife, Ann C. Levinger, 86, a former lecturer in education.

UMass Amherst News and Media Relations. (2017, August 14). Obituary: George Levinger, Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Ann Levinger, Former Lecturer. News Office Obituary

Daily Hampshire Gazette. (2017, August 5Ann and George Levinger. Obituary


Morton G. Harmatz

March 25, 1939 – August 22, 2017

Mort was one of the founding faculty members of the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For more than four decades, Mort was greatly respected by his colleagues in the Psychology Department, as he was known to be a man of kindness, fairness, and good humor regardless of the challenges at hand. During his many years as the Director of Clinical Training, Mort helped lead the doctoral program to a level at which it gained national recognition as a model of clinical psychology training. When Mort decided to retire, his colleagues implored him to remain on as director for a few more years as the program transitioned to a clinical science model of training; as was typical of Mort’s generosity and selflessness, he agreed to do so. 

As a clinical supervisor in the department’s Psychological Services Center, Mort was eagerly sought out by doctoral trainees who were eager to be supervised by an individual with such a remarkable level of clinical knowledge, skill, and intuition. On the undergraduate level, Mort’s courses in abnormal psychology and human sexuality attracted a capacity crowd of five hundred students each semester. In addition to authoring textbooks in both of these areas, Mort published dozens of research and scholarly articles in the field of psychology. As a testament to his excellence as an educator, Mort was awarded the College Outstanding Teaching Award in 1999. Mort gave generously of his time and talent in the Psychology Department through his service on a countless number of committees, in the community as a consultant to mental health agencies, and on the national level through his active involvement in several professional associations. Especially notable was his five-year appointment by the Governor to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists, with responsibility for the credentialing and oversight of more than 6,000 psychologists in the Commonwealth. In the final years of his term on the Board, Mort was elected to serve as Chair, a role he fulfilled with distinction. 

Obituary and Memorial Messages