Nadine Murphy Lambert
Professor in the Graduate School of Education, Emerita
1926 – 2006
Nadine Lambert, founder of the University of California, Berkeley’s doctoral program in school psychology and director of the program from 1965 to 2004, died in Berkeley on April 26, 2006, from injuries suffered in a car accident on her way to work when a runaway truck struck her vehicle. Nadine M. Lambert was born to Rulon and Maude Murphy in Ephraim, Utah, on October 21, 1926, while her parents were visiting Nadine’s grandparents; at six weeks of age she was returned to the Murphys’ Hollywood home, where she was raised and schooled. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master’s degree in education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Southern California. During a long academic career, Nadine made major contributions in the areas of assessment of adaptive behaviors, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and consultee-based consultation. She gave devoted, career-long service to the school psychology field in California and nationally, to the American Psychological Association, and to faculty governance and student welfare at UC Berkeley.
A lifelong resident of California, Nadine first worked as a kindergarten teacher, then as a guidance consultant/school psychologist, next as a research consultant with the California State Department of Education. There she partnered with Eli Bower to champion preventive mental health programs in schools. She came to Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1964. In 1965, when she began the school psychology program at UC Berkeley, it was the first doctoral program of its type in California. The program was also innovative in its adoption of Gerald Caplan’s consultee-centered consultation as a foundational process for school psychology practice, and it was recognized and supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health for 18 years as a model program.
Although one of only two women professors in the Graduate School of Education when she came to Berkeley, Nadine thrived and rose to the rank of full professor. Over the course of her career at Berkeley, she was also instrumental in establishing and collaborating in several other academic programs, including the nationally recognized Developmental Teacher Education Program, the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, and a doctoral program in educational leadership. Nadine also contributed to the Graduate School of Education as associate dean for student affairs for six years, and served UC Berkeley and the UC system for more than 25 years, with terms on the divisional Graduate Council and its administrative committee, the Council on Educational Development, the Committee on Rules and Jurisdiction, and the systemwide Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs.
Boundless energy was one of Nadine’s attributes, and her service to the psychology and education professions was as prolific and profound as her commitment to Berkeley. She joined the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1956 and was elected a fellow of both Division 15 (Educational Psychology) and Division 16 (School Psychology) in 1974. She was an early president (1962-1963) of the California Association of School Psychologists and Psychometrists, which was founded in 1953. Nadine served on numerous APA committees and task forces, including the Council of Representatives, the Committee on Standards for Providers of Psychological Services, the Task Force on Accreditation Issues, the Task Force on Education and Credentialing, the Committee on Testing, Assessment, and Public Policy, the Task Force on Psychology in the Schools, the Oversight Committee on Policy and Education, the Commission on Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology, and the board of directors. Nadine convinced APA that educational and school issues were appropriate issues for scientific and professional psychology to embrace, propelling the organization to create a Board of Educational Affairs and serving on both the interim board and the standing board when it was established.
Nadine garnered many honors. She won the Distinguished Service Award from the School Psychology division of APA in 1980, and several awards for outstanding contributions to the profession: the Sandra Goff Award for Outstanding Contributions to School Psychology in California (1985; California Association of School Psychologists), the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Psychology as a Professional Practice (1986; American Psychological Association), the Dorothy Hughes Award for Outstanding Contributions to Educational and School Psychology (1990), and the Award for Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training (1999; American Psychological Association).
In 1998, the National Association of School Psychologists named her a "Living Legend," and in 2005, she was awarded the APA Division 16 Senior Scientist Award for long-standing and exceptional contributions to the science of school psychology, becoming one of only two individuals to win both the service and senior scientist awards. Jon Sandoval, the first graduate of the Berkeley School Psychology Program, noted that the Senior Scientist Award was the one that Nadine most cherished. In 2007, Division 16 instituted a new award—the Nadine Murphy Lambert Lifetime Achievement Award; it was presented posthumously to Nadine (its first recipient), and will be given occasionally by consensus of the executive committee to an individual who has made long-standing contributions of unusual breadth and depth to the field of school psychology.
Nadine passed on her commitment to school psychology to the more than 140 graduates of the program under her leadership. Her students have become professors and leaders in school psychology and have served as presidents of the National Association of School Psychologists, the California Association of School Psychologists, and Division 16 of APA. Nadine was especially proud that many of her graduates became educational leaders, serving as school superintendents, directors of curriculum or special education, and practicing school psychologists, such as the late Michael Goodman, for whom the California Association of School Psychologists annual Research Award is named.
Regardless of Nadine's reverence for scientific objectivity in her professional work, more subjective factors like passion, commitment, and even obstinacy underscore her relations to ideas and public figures, while loyalty and generosity suffused a personal circle that certainly included Cal's football and basketball teams. Laura, Nadine’s daughter by a first marriage, and son, Jeffrey, received her bountiful love and unstinting support. To colleagues and former students, Nadine freely dispensed that "extra ticket" to home games, invitations to a weekend at her vacation house in Forestville, and little gifts of CDs, mystery novels, exotic food items, or a special vintage.
An expert gourmet cook and aficionado of fine wines, Nadine could make any picnic in a Russian River vineyard a feast, and many have enjoyed dinners that rivaled the splendid view of San Francisco Bay from her Grizzly Peak home. She was on first-name terms with vintners and tasting room hosts, and left a large, well-selected cellar—and a larger body of friends and associates with a shocked sense of loss at her untimely death. Had Nadine Lambert been less devoted to her field and to her institution, she would have been more conventionally “retired” on that April morning in 2006—safely planting herbs, foraging for mushrooms, writing grant proposals—rather than in the unsuspecting path of a runaway truck while on her way to her University office. But this was the Nadine that many knew and loved; indeed, her death occurred while she was planning the fourth international conference on consultee-centered consultation. She will be sorely missed after a life that was well led.
Nadine is survived by her daughter Laura Allan and her son Jeffrey Lambert. Her husband, Robert, died in 1984.
Frank C. Worrell