Dr. Yelen, 76, of Topeka, passed away on December 15, 2012 at Midland Hospice House after a struggle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Donald R. Yelen. Delphine was born October 22, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA and MA from Wayne State University in Detroit and her doctorate in Experimental Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1963. She then began a distinguished career at Washburn University that lasted until 2001 when she retired as Emeritus Professor of Psychology. During her thirty-eight years at Washburn she excelled in teaching, research and service to the university. Always an effective undergraduate teacher of statistics and research methods she was also honored by psychology graduate students with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty award in 1999. Dr. Yelen s personal research investigated learning phenomena in both animals and humans and was published in a variety of professional journals. In addition to her own research, she supervised the research of numerous undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Yelen also served the university in a number of ways. She was the long time chair of the Social Science Division. She chaired the Psychology Department from 1972 to 1978. During this time she led the transition from a group of part-time instructor to a group of qualified, Ph.D. level, full-time faculty. Dr. Yelen s leadership not only greatly improved the quality of undergraduate instruction but laid the groundwork for the later development of the Psychology Masters program. This achievement was recognized in 1998 when she was one of the recipients of the Psychology Department Founders Award. Dr. Yelen was also the first woman to lead the College of Arts and Sciences when she served as Interim Dean in 1988 and 1989 during a difficult time for the university. Delphine also excelled in interpersonal relationships. She was a kind, warm person with an engaging smile that made friends with students, faculty and staff on campus as well as with the variety of people she met during everyday encounters in the Topeka Community. Per her wishes, no services will be held. Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Yelen Psychology Scholarship Fund in care of the Washburn Endowment Association. To leave a memorial message, visit www.DoveCremation.com R. Delphine Yelen, Ph.D.
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Dec. 18, 2012