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In Memoriam: Dr. Harold Mosak

University News | 06.05.18

Dr. Harold Mosak, co-founder and Distinguished Service Professor at Adler University, died June 1 at the age of 96.

In 1952, Dr. Mosak helped establish the Alfred Adler Institute – today, Adler University – in partnership with his mentor Rudolf Dreikurs and a group of colleagues that included Bernard Shulman.

Regarded internationally as one of the preeminent interpreters of Alfred Adler and his individual psychology, Dr. Mosak wrote hundreds of articles and numerous books on the subjects. He also trained and supervised scores of Adlerians, including Adler University students, for more than 60 years until his retirement.

Dr. Mosak served as a trustee for most of the institution’s history, from 1963 until 2010. He was the longest serving board chair during that time (1963, 1972-1999), and in 1984, stepped in as the University’s interim president.

In the Adler Institute’s early years, Dr. Mosak founded the school’s library. Works by Adler and his students were hard to find, but he acquired them one by one and recruited students to the cause. His wife, Birdie, joined him in the effort by reaching out to students for help growing the collection. Through benefactor support, the University dedicated its modern library – the Harold and Birdie Mosak Library – on his 90th birthday in 2011.

Dr. Mosak was among the first psychologists licensed in the United States and Illinois; his Illinois license number was 37. He was a diplomate in clinical psychology (ABPP), and he was a life member and fellow of the American Psychological Association. He completed an A.B. in psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Chicago. He also served in the United States Army Air Force (1943-1946).

Dr. Mosak retired from teaching at Adler University in 2015, but continued mentoring his students. Alumni could often be found sitting in consultation with him at his residence in Evanston, Illinois.

“I am enormously grateful for his generous mentorship,” said Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D. “From our first conversations and tutoring that made me into an Adlerian, to his later counsel about the perils and joys of leading a school, to our visits after his retirement, Harold continued to advise me on becoming a better president and a better person.”

At his 2015 retirement celebration at the University’s Chicago Campus, Dr. Mosak said, “Some decades ago, Kurt Adler, the son of Alfred Adler, thought I was working too hard and had too many positions on the board, as a teacher, etc. He approached me and said, ‘Harold, I’d like to make a pact with you. Let’s not do it all. Out of social interest, we owe it to future generations to leave something for them to do.’

“I invite you to enter a pact with Kurt Adler, and not to do it all. But do a hell of a lot, and leave some for future generations. If you persevere and you recognize that you have something to offer the world, don’t desist from it. Offer it to the world. I suspect Adler is smiling down on us today because of the things the people of the last 60 years have accomplished.”

The Adler University community extends its condolences to the family of Dr. Mosak and is grateful for his many contributions to the institution.

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