The University Record, July 9, 2001


Ralph M. Gibson

Ralph M. Gibson, professor emeritus of psychology in pediatrics and communicable diseases, died May 23 at Albert Einstein Hospital in New York after a long illness. He was 76.

Gibson retired in 1991 after nearly four decades of service to the University. A native of Cleveland, Gibson received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in experimental psychology and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology, all from the U-M. He was appointed an instructor in psychology in the Department of Pediatrics in 1956, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1963, associate professor in 1966 and professor in 1970.

Gibson was a pioneer in the expansion of the child psychologist’s role in pediatrics to include assessment of and intervention for the effects of illness on children’s psychosocial and developmental status. His clinical and research interests centered on the effects of trauma in early infancy and later personality development. Gibson was an authority on developmental issues in blind infants.

Gibson established the first pediatric psychology section in a department of pediatrics in the United States. In 1965, he became head of the Pediatric Psychology Unit at the Medical School.

Gibson was a life fellow of the American Ortho-psychiatric Association and a member of numerous other professional societies, including the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His administrative service at the Medical School also included positions as director of counseling services 1972–83 and assistant dean for student affairs 1976–83. Other University service included being a member of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics 1968–74 and 1984–87, and faculty adviser for the Comprehensive Studies and Opportunity Program beginning in 1984.

Gibson received the Wade McCree Distinguished Faculty Award in 1987. In 1988, he was included in an exhibition of the accomplishments of the most distinguished Ph.D. recipients of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies during the previous 50 years. In 1987, Gibson was appointed to the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council of the National Institutes of Health.

Gibson’s continued emphasis on the pursuit of academic excellence and demonstrated concern for minority students’ health and welfare culminated in the Medical School’s establishment of the Ralph M. Gibson Award, which is presented annually to the senior minority medical student who has best demonstrated these qualities throughout his or her career.

Gibson was the first African American teaching fellow at the U-M, the first African American member of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics, the first African American full professor in the Medical School and the first African American president of the Graduate “M” Club.

Gibson is survived by his wife, Rose Campbell Gibson of East Hampton, N.Y.; two sons, Ralph M. Gibson Jr. of New York and John S. Gibson of Tustin, Calif.; and four grandchildren.

A scholarship fund will be established in Gibson’s name. Contributions may be made “In Memory of Dr. Ralph Gibson” and sent to the U-M Health System Office of Medical Development and Alumni Relations, 301 E. Liberty St., Suite 300, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Submitted by Harold R. Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work and professor emeritus of social work and of health behavior and health education

Isaac C. Thomas III

Isaac C. Thomas III, clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology, died June 8 at home after suffering a heart attack. He was 42.

Thomas was born Sept. 13, 1958, in Tokyo to Yoshiko (Nishimura) and Isaac C. Thomas Jr. He moved to Detroit as a youth and graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1976. Thomas received a bachelor of science degree from Harvard University in 1980 and then worked as a commodities trader while simultaneously pursing a master’s degree in biochemistry at Harvard.

On Dec. 20, 1986, Thomas married Toni Hoover. She survives him.

After receiving his medical degree in 1988 from the U-M, Thomas served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He completed a tour of duty in Panama and a three-year tour as director of the outpatient clinic at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens.

In 1996, Thomas completed his anesthesiology residency at the U-M and joined the Department of Anesthesiology, working both as a clinician and assistant professor of anesthesiology. He also had staff privileges at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Thomas was a member of the American Society of Anesthesiology, the Harvard Alumni Association of Southeastern Michigan and the University Musical Society. He enjoyed the performing arts, traveling, sports, cooking and gardening.

In addition to his wife and mother, Thomas is survived by sisters Kimberly Humes, Jacqueline Thomas and Christina Thomas; and a brother, Anthony Thomas.

Submitted by the Department of Anesthesiology