University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Ansbacher Family Establishes Lasting Legacy

October 21, 2004

Heinz Ludwig Ansbacher and Rowena Ripin Ansbacher awarded Doctors
of Letters by UVM President Lattie Coor, May 18, 1980

Ansbachers' Awarded Doctors of Letters, May 18, 1980

Max (UVM '57), Ben, Ted (UVM '68), and Charles Ansbacher have given the University of Vermont an endowed gift of $350,000 to establish the Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Green and Gold Professorship In Psychology. The fund was established by the Ansbachers to honor the lifetime achievements in the field of psychology by their parents, Heinz and Rowena, and the legacy of Heinz, who imparted that knowledge as a Professor of Psychology to four decades of students at UVM. This gift reflects the Ansbacher family's wish to provide a lasting tribute to their father and mother. "They lived Adlerian psychology," says Professor Robert Lawson as he recalls coming to know Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher during his first years on campus some 40 years ago. "Social support, the priority of home life and individual responsibility were all very important to them."

Heinz Ansbacher, a veteran member of the psychology faculty, helped Lawson, then a young professor, settle into academic life in the mid- 1960s and would continue to be a regular presence in the Department of Psychology long past his retirement in 1970, strolling over from his East Avenue home to check his mail daily, often putting in a good word for keeping the spirit and practice of individual psychology alive in the department.

Heinz and Max Ansbacher
Heinz and Max Ansbacher
Heinz is still going strong, having celebrated his 100th birthday on Oct. 21. In recognition of that milestone, Heinz and the late Rowena Ansbacher's family has assured that the influence of their parents will continue in UVM psychology for years to come. "He has all the ties he needs," says Max Ansbacher, "we thought we'd do something a little more meaningful to celebrate his wonderful life." About half of Heinz's long life has been spent in Burlington, where he joined the UVM faculty in 1946. Heinz and Rowena both worked directly with Alfred Adler as scholars and editors and are considered among the leading early followers of the Adlerian school of thought. The Alfred Adler Institute Website summarizes the pillars of that philosophy: "the necessity of looking at man as a whole, as a functioning entity, reacting to his environment as well as to his physical endowment, rather than as a summation of instincts, drives and other psychological manifestations."

Heinz Ansbacher
Heinz Ansbacher
On the eve of his 100th birthday, Heinz considers what initially attracted him personally and professionally to Adler's way of thinking. "It was against Freud," he says. On another inevitable question, Ansbacher declines any credit for his impressive longevity, "I didn't do anything about it," he says. "I just have a good heart." The purpose of this fund is to provide additional funding for a highly productive and/or nationally known faculty member in the Department of Psychology deserving of a reward for teaching and research. The professorship will be awarded to a faculty member whose teaching and scholarship focuses upon the enhancement of individual and collective human strengths, virtues and citizenship as exemplified in the teachings of Dr. Alfred Adler. It was the teachings of Adler that inspired the rich and positive heritage left to the University by Professors Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher. The Ansbacher Professor will be appointed for a three to five year term after which another worthy faculty member will receive the designation. The Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Green and Gold Professor will hold an academic appointment in the Psychology Department of the College of Arts & Sciences, University of Vermont.

Last modified July 22 2010 11:04 AM