Linda J. Mealey, Ph.D.

In Memoriam of a Dear Friend and Beloved Professor

Born December 17, 1955
Died November 5, 2002

Education: B.A., Cornell University, 1977; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1984.

Areas of Interest: Evolution and Genetics of Behavior, Physiological Psychology, Animal Behavior, Human Sexuality and Psychology and Law.

Courses Taught: Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, Animal Behavior, Human Ethology, Evolutionary Psychology and Psych and Law.


Professor of Psychology

Born: Dec. 17, 1955
Died: Nov. 5, 2002

Linda Mealey, 46, died of colon and liver cancer on Tuesday, Nov. 5. She will be deeply missed by the CSB/SJU community. A memorial gathering took place at CSB on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Colleagues, friends and family plan to sustain Linda's intellectual legacy, possibly through the creation of a scholarship program to support faculty-student collaborative research in Linda's field of study. Memorial contributions may be made to the Linda Mealey Legacy Fund, c/o Dept. of Psychology, College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, MN 56374.

Mealey was a professor at CSB/SJU for 16 years. Last May, she received the Teacher Scholar of the Year Award from the colleges.

Linda was born Dec. 17, 1955, in San Diego, Calif. She began her college career in fall 1973 at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., transferring to Cornell University in 1974. She graduated from Cornell in 1977 with a B.A. in biology, concentration in neurobiology and behavior.

After graduating from Cornell, Linda completed additional coursework at the University of Cincinnati. It was there that she met Jim Davis, an ornithologist, whom she married in 1980. Linda graduated from the University of Texas in 1984 with a Ph.D. in psychology, concentration in behavior genetics.

She joined the faculty at CSB/SJU in the fall of 1985 as an assistant professor. Linda was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1991, and to full professor in 2001. She regularly taught two of the foundation courses in the psychology major, namely introductory psychology and research methods and a variety of courses in her specialty areas of biopsychology, animal behavior, human ethology, psychology and the law, and human sexuality. She also supervised numerous independent study and work-study students, was sought after as an academic advisor and became the most prolific researcher in her department and one of the most productive scholars at CSB/SJU.

From 1996 to 1998, Linda took a leave of absence from CSB/SJU to teach and conduct research at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. She remained an adjunct professor there until her untimely death.

Linda will be remembered as a highly talented and much beloved mentor to scores of student researchers, many of whom went on to successful careers in psychology, medicine, law and other professional fields.

Linda enjoyed an active and productive professional life. She belonged to approximately 16 professional and scholarly societies, serving with distinction on the editorial board of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, councilor for the Human Behavior & Evolution Society, editorial board member for the Archives of Sexual Behavior and book review editor and president of the International Society for Human Ethology.

Linda's intellectual legacy is impressive. She was a textbook consultant for five publishers, manuscript reviewer for approximately 12 scholarly journals and contributor of approximately 50 entries for a dozen reference works and encyclopedias. During her professional career, Linda published 10 book chapters, a full-length textbook, more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals, more than 30 brief communications and commentaries, more than two dozen book reviews and presented more than 50 papers and posters at professional meetings and conferences.

Dr. Nancy Segal, Linda's colleague at California State University, Fullerton, offered the following tribute: "Linda was a true scholar who brought intelligence, energy and imagination to research in evolutionary psychology. She was a fine teacher, concerned with conveying concepts clearly and with presenting a balanced view. Her welcoming manner put others at ease and was surely responsible for attracting so many students and young investigators to our discipline. She authored some important works. Her 1995 article, "The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated Evolutionary Model" and her 1999 study, "Symmetry and Perceived Facial Attractiveness: A Monozygotic Co-Twin Comparison," are widely cited. Her 2000 textbook, Sex Differences: Development and Evolutionary Strategies, garnered glowing reviews. Linda's vita is wonderfully up-to-date, but sadly filed with dreams deferred. Several promised presentations were not delivered and several working papers may never appear in print. But her accomplishments and her high spirit will continue to enrich and inspire us all, as well as our many colleagues to come."

Linda was to have delivered an invited plenary address, "Incorporating Evolution in Psychology Classes," at the January 2003 meeting of the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Illness also prevented Linda from presenting her presidential address, "Where Do We Go From Here?" at the annual meeting of the International Society for Human Ethology, held August 2002 in Montreal, Quebec.

Linda was a committed teacher and scholar. Despite failing health, she continued to meet and communicate by electronic mail with student research collaborators and colleagues. She endured her illness with courage, grace, and dignity in the face of overwhelming odds against survival. Her passing leaves a huge void in our academic community.

Linda is survived by her husband Jim Davis, parents June and George Mealey, sisters Chris and Karen, a large extended family and a network of friends and colleagues that spans the globe.