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Longtime Catawba Faculty Member Dies

July 23, 2014

Category: Faculty, Psychology


Dr. Albert E. "Robin" Roberts, professor emeritus and former chair of psychology at Catawba College, died Tuesday, July 22. He had retired from Catawba in 2010 after 40 years of service.

The funeral service for Dr. Roberts was held Friday, July 25 in Salisbury. He is survived by wife Sally, son BJ and daughter Amy, their spouses, and four grandchildren (Nathaniel, Olivia, Ella, Savannah).

Memorials can be made in his name to Catawba College, Development Office, 2300 W Innes St; or the building fund at First United Methodist at 217 S Church St. (both Salisbury, 28144).

A native of Indiana, he earned his undergraduate degree in psychology at Butler University, his master’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University, and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Tennessee. He joined the faculty of Catawba in 1970.

Early in his tenure at Catawba, Dr. Roberts continued his research on rats that he had begun at the University of Tennesse, but he says he eventually ran out of "rat questions" and other topics for him to research came to the forefront.

He met a neurologist at Bowman-Gray in Winston-Salem, who was interested in his background in cognition research and statistics. That led to Dr. Roberts doing research work in neuroimaging. When he first began, his research was in stroke and stroke prognosis, but he later moved into Alzheimer’s research. He used the transcranial Doppler machine to determine how the speed of blood changes when people think or do various tasks. His research work led to grants, including one from the National institute of Health. His research work also carried him to international conferences in places like Austria, Germany, Canada, and Puerto Rico. His papers were published in a variety of scholarly periodicals.

At Catawba, Dr. Roberts was honored in 1982 as the recipients of the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, and in 1997, he was named Catawba’s Jefferson-Pilot Professor of Humanities. In 2010, shortly before his retirement, Dr. Roberts received the Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College.