In Memoriam

Portrait of LeAdelle Phelps.

LeAdelle Phelps

An advocate for children’s psychological health

LeAdelle Phelps, a widely published GSE professor of psychology, earned her PhD from the University of Utah at 25, an uncommonly young age. For the next four decades, Phelps was a leader in school psychology, publishing three books and creating a popular test for kindergarten readiness.

She was 67 when she died in September of 2019 after battling multiple sclerosis and melanoma.

Early in her career, she was a school psychologist in Davis, Utah. She came to UB in 1989 and was director of the Counseling Psychology/School Psychology Program, associate dean for academic affairs and chair of the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology.

“She had the goal of revamping the school psychology program, getting it approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, and establishing a doctoral program, and she made it happen despite a climate at the time that was more of an old boys’ club,” said Amanda Nickerson, professor and director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention. “LeAdelle had gutsy determination.”

Phelps wrote and contributed to more than 60 journal articles and was editor of Psychology in the Schools from 1999-2006. This year, she received a posthumous presidential citation from the American Psychological Association in recognition of her contribution to the field.

She taught until her retirement in 2014 and was an influential mentor. “She inspired me to pursue what I love: Conducting research that can benefit the greater good,” said Laura M. Anderson (PhD ’06), a licensed psychologist, now in private practice.