About J. Robert Newman
For Professor Bob Newman, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) was his life. He worked, played, and practically lived at the university. When Bob passed away from cancer on April 29 at the age of 70, CSULB lost not only an outstanding professor who began his career in 1967 as a statistics specialist in the Department of Psychology, but also a person who truly loved the university. Newman, a Redondo Beach resident, left $500,000 of his estate to CSULB through its Estate Planning and Gifts Program. (He entrusted his Department Chair, Dr. Keith Colman, with the responsibility of distributing his gift. His only request was that “it goes for people, not things.”)
“In addition to being one of the most beloved professors ever to teach at CSULB, Bob Newman was a kind of Renaissance man in psychology,” said longtime associate and CSULB psychology professor Bob Thayer.
Newman received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Amherst in 1950 and 1952, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the U. of Illinois in 1955. An avid writer and researcher, he served as author or co-author on 51 scientific papers. He had also worked for Hughes and was a member of Sigma Xi honor society.
“His book as well as over 50 scientific publications ranged from mathematical models of decision theory, to neurophysiology, and evolutionary biology, and most recently, to include the psychology of mood regulation,” said Thayer. Dr. Newman’s work was very practical. (One study he designed involved how to determine which prisoner would be more likely to succeed on probation from the Los Angeles Department of Corrections.)
Newman was extremely giving of his time to students and faculty. Even in the final weeks of his life, the always available Newman was receiving an average of 60 e-mail/voicemail messages per day from students and faculty seeking his advice, which he gladly gave. “Without compensation, he selflessly served as a statistics and research design guru and problem solver for countless undergraduates, graduate students, and fellow faculty members,” remembers Thayer. “His office door was always open for help.”
The university will miss Bob for numerous reasons. He was a fine human being – brilliant, professional, educated, but also just a nice, down-to-earth guy who always loved a good game of tennis.