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Obituary

Robert M. Guion
by Milt Hakel, Scott Highhouse, and Michael Zickar

On October 23, 2012, the I-O world lost one of its most prominent contributors when Bob Guion passed away at age 88.

With a BA in 1948 from Iowa, and his MS in 1950 and PhD in 1952 from Purdue, Bob joined the faculty at Bowling Green State University where he rose through the ranks and was ultimately honored by being named a Distinguished University Professor. He served as chair of the department from 1966 to 1971 and edited the Journal of Applied Psychology from 1983 to 1988. During his career he held visiting appointments at Berkeley, New Mexico, the State of Hawaii Department of Personnel Services, and the Educational Testing Service. He won the James McKeen Cattell Award for research design from the Division of Industrial Psychology of APA in 1965 and won it again in 1981. He was named a James McKeen Cattell Fellow in 2000 by the American Psychological Society (now the Association for Psychological Science) for his contributions as an applied scientist, and just 2 days earlier he received the Stephen E. Bemis Award from the International Personnel Assessment Council for his contributions to professional practice. He was especially proud of the concurrency of these distinguished science and practice awards.

His landmark text published in 1965, Personnel Testing, was required reading for almost every I-O graduate student. Indeed, the watchword at one competing university was “Memorize Guion.” In 1998 he added another classic, Assessment, Measurement, and Prediction for Personnel Decisions—it is having the same strong impact. An abridged version was published with Scott Highhouse as coauthor in 2006, and the second edition of the magnum opus was published in 2011.

Bob has been a standard setter for practice in employee selection. He was principal author of the 1974 Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests and cochair for two editions of the Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures, published by SIOP. Based on sound theory and research, these documents had a major impact on practice and were given due deference by the courts in employment litigation. They epitomize the best in using scientific research to inform public policy.

As an educator, Bob led the development of the master’s and then the doctoral program at Bowling Green State University, and served as mentor for many of today’s leaders in the field. As a contributor to professional psychology, he served as the president of two APA divisions, 14 and 5, and also chaired its Board of Scientific Affairs. His career is a model of the blend of theory, research, and application.

Many of us who were fortunate to know Bob considered him a role model in both his personal and professional life. Bob is survived by Emily, his wife of 65 years, five children, and nine grandchildren. He was devoted to his family and never missed an opportunity to talk about his grandchildren. Bob and Emily were among 22 couples honored by the Ohio Department of Aging in 2011 for their mutual devotion and deep commitment to community volunteer work. He was intensely curious and vigorously pursued outside interests as a chocolatier and candy maker, glass blower, and music theorist. Most who knew him commented on his curmudgeonly disposition, disarming smile, and the “twinkle in his eye.” For instance, upon being named a Distinguished University Professor, he delighted in telling friends that he was now a dupe.

Bob was a model of integrity and deeply believed that the waste of human resources should pain the professional conscience of I-O psychologists. Bob worked tirelessly toward the development of a fundamental science that promotes human welfare at work. We are guided by this spirit.

You can learn more about Bob by reading his presidential autobiography: http://www.siop.org/presidents/Guion.aspx

Bob sang in the First United Methodist Church choir, and the family suggests tributes to the church for its choir scholarship program. Contributions may also be made to the FABBS Foundation on Bob’s behalf: http://www.fabbs.org/index.php?cID=161. Bob’s children started a Caring Bridge page, and they would cherish any notes and memories you may be willing to share: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/robertguion/mystory.