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:

1984
Cynthia Dock

1994
Sarah Johnson

2004
Dana Quinn
Cicely Robinson

1985
Mark Boekenhauer

1995
Kevin Cook

2005
Bethany Jacobson

1986
William E. Cayley, Jr.

1996
Rolf Skar

2006
Laura Barnard
Gretchen van der Linden

1987
Isabell Schallreuter

1997
Jessica Haffner
Rebecca Jakel

2007
Anna Johnson
Bradley Wagenaar

1988
John Elstad

1998
Sean McNattin

2008
Kimberly Hallinan
Elisabeth Vickers

1989
Christi Clauson

1999
Aaron Sackett

2009
Kameko Halfmann
Christopher Miller

1990
Timothy King

2000
Loran Nordgren
Adam Espie-Ziemann

2010
Elizabeth Nail
Anna Crouch

1991
Amy Richardson

2001
Zachary Olson
Megan Call
2011
Andrea Dittmann
Scott Krepsky
1992
Minna Hong

2002
Anne Jolivette
Marit Grorud

2012
Mollie Link
Eric Teachout
Katherine Ziomek
1993
Ellen Fredrickson

2003
Jenny Vaydich