Allport Award

The Department of Psychology is inviting self-nominations from junior psychology students at St. Olaf College for the annual Gordon Allport Psychology Award. It was established in 1983 by Professor Olaf Millert, one of Dr. Allport’s students, to honor Dr. Allport’s memory and continuing impact on the psychological profession and on the lives of persons of good will, regardless of race or national background.

Background on Gordon Allport

Gordon Allport was born in Montezuma, Indiana on November 11th, 1897. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate, taught sociology in Turkey, and then returned to Harvard to study Psychology. After receiving his Ph.D., he traveled to Berlin, Hamburg, and Cambridge for additional study, spent 4 years teaching at Dartmouth, and returned to Harvard for the rest of his career. He published widely, including books on Personality: A Psychological Interpretation (1937), Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality (1955), Pattern and Growth in Personality (1961), and Letters from Jenny (1965).

Allport presented a positive and hopeful picture of people in conscious control of their own lives. For Allport, a fundamental motivation of humans is to seek unity and meaning. This search means that the basic human urge is to become, to grow, to move towards integrity and fulfillment. Allport maintained that normal, mature human beings were not irreversibly driven by the events of childhood. He opposed radical and narrow approaches to psychology. Instead, his ideal psychology was an open, inclusive and systematic eclecticism. Allport was a devout Episcopalian and a defender of religious faith in human life. While he was critical of shallow, immature religious expressions, he stressed the importance of a mature religious sentiment as a unifying feature in personality.

Qualifications of the award winner

The Gordon Allport Award is to be presented annually to one or more individuals with the following qualifications:

1) They must be junior psychology majors with an excellent record in their studies.

2) Their personal and career aspirations must be in basic sympathy with Gordon Allport’s views on human growth and potential. In particular, they should:

  • be dedicated to supporting personal growth in themselves and others;
  • adopt an open and eclectic view of psychological theory and research rather than a narrow one; and,
  • maintain and exemplify the idea that individuals can overcome adversity by taking conscious control of their own lives.

3) Their personality, talents, and interests should be directed toward supporting the fulfillment of individual human potential.

Each applicant is asked to submit:

1. A cover letter indicating your intention to apply and how you can be contacted.

2. A list of psychology courses you have taken with names of instructors and grades received.

3. The names of two or three faculty members who are familiar with the applicant and could make a statement of support.

4. An autobiographical sketch including a brief statement of his or her goals in life. This is not to exceed five double-spaced and typed pages.

In your autobiographical statement you should provide some background about your personal history. For example:

  • Relational experiences (teaches special coping skills)
  • Goals
  • College experiences (good or bad)
  • Visions for your future
  • Family (parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives, friends)

The applicants should be prepared to accept an invitation to meet with the selection committee for a half-hour interview. The award will be presented at the Allport Award Celebration. Applicants must be present at this Event to receive their award.

Submissions must be turned in to Darla Frandrup in February. The recipient of the Gordon Allport Award will receive a certificate of recognition and a cash award of $500. The recipient of the award will be expected to take a leadership role in the psychology department in their senior year.

Gallery of Award Winners:

2014 – Taylor Dovala
2013 – Robin Stramp
2012 – Mollie Link, Eric Teachout and Katherine Ziomek
2011 – Andrea Dittmann and Scott Krepsky
2010 – Elizabeth Nail and Anna Crouch
2009 – Kameko Halfmann and Christopher Miller
2008 – Kimberly Hallinan and Elisabeth Vickers
2007 – Anna Johnson and Bradley Wagenaar
2006 – Laura Barnard and Gretchen van der Linden
2005 – Bethany Jacobson
2004 – Dana Quinn and Cicely Robinson
2003 – Jenny Vaydich
2002 – Anne Jolivette and Marit Grorud
2001 – Zachary Olson and Megan Call
2000 – Loran Nordgren and Adam Espie-Ziemann
1999 – Aaron Sackett
1998 – Sean McNattin
1997 – Jessica Haffner and Rebecca Jakel
1996 – Rolf Skar
1995 – Kevin Cook
1994 – Sarah Johnson
1993 – Ellen Fredrickson
1992 – Minna Hong
1991 – Amy Richardson
1990 – Timothy King
1989 – Christi Clauson
1988 – John Elstad
1987 – Isabell Schallreuter
1986 – William E. Cayley, Jr.
1985 – Mark Boekenhauer
1984 – Cynthia Dock