Tribute: Mentor, 'Mensch'

Throughout his 47-year career as a professor—36 of them in the Emory College Department of Psychology—Eugene “Gene” Winograd cultivated relationships with students and colleagues who blossomed under his care. Winograd died at his home in Decatur on April 9, following a brief illness.

Winograd joined the Emory faculty in 1968 after almost a decade on the experimental psychology faculty at Columbia University. His research focused on memory and learning, with emphasis on “flashbulb memory,” the recall of a vivid, enduring memory for how one learned about a shocking or historic event.

“Gene taught me to worry and be nervous before every single class I taught. If we didn’t feel nervous, he would say, it meant that we did not care enough about the lessons we were about to provide,” says Marshall Duke, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory.

“I have never gone into a class, even now after 45 years at Emory, without feeling nervous and worried that I would not give the students the best possible educational experience. I owe that ‘beneficial craziness’ to Gene Winograd,” Duke says. “He was one of a kind. The touch of his hand remains on me, his students, the Department of Psychology, and on Emory.”

Richard Litner 99B began as Wingrad’s student and became a treasured friend.

“Gene played a significant role in my life, and I know in the lives of many others. He was just that kind of a person,” says Litner. “He loved baseball, jazz, showtunes, New York, Jewish culture and history—he was soft-spoken, brilliant, kind, honest—in Yiddish we would call him a real mensch.”

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