Jack Fletcher named 2015 PHHP alumnus of the year

PHHP Dean Michael G. Perri presents Jack Fletcher with the 2015 Alumnus of the Year award.

PHHP Dean Michael G. Perri presents Jack Fletcher with the 2015 Alumnus of the Year award.

The College of Public Health and Health Professions recognized Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., doctorate in clinical psychology ’78, as the college’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year at the convocation ceremony in May. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Psychology and chair of the department of psychology at the University of Houston.

A board certified child neuropsychologist, Fletcher has conducted research in children with learning and attention disorders, and brain injury for the past 30 years. He directs a Learning Disability Research Center grant and has led projects involving neurobiological factors and learning in spina bifida and math disabilities, all funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He served on the NICHD National Advisory Council, the Rand Reading Study Group, the National Research Council Committee on Scientific Principles in Education Research, and the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education.

Fletcher received the Samuel T. Orton award from the International Dyslexia Association in 2003 and was a co-recipient of the 2006 Albert J. Harris award from the International Reading Association. He is the past president of the International Neuropsychological Society.

My favorite UF memory: Right now my favorite UF memory is going to the awards ceremony last spring with my father. It was really special to drive around campus with the dean after the ceremony and see the campus with my dad who, along with several of his brothers, is a UF alumnus. Before that I would have said listening to their war stories about their times at UF. My favorite story was always about my Uncle John Fletcher who drove a convertible and would pack for home by throwing stuff from the window of the KA house and taking what landed in the car.

Best lesson learned: The importance of working across disciplines. When I was a graduate student, I was allowed and encouraged to take courses in multiple colleges and to work with people in multiple departments and disciplines. I have carried this lesson throughout my career.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: I could never name just one. My mentor was a neuropsychologist, Paul Satz, who really taught me about research and pointed me towards work with children and the importance of multi-disciplinary work. The late Warren Rice was a neuropsychologist at the VA and took me under his wing in my second year. He taught me about applying science to clinical work. How could anyone not be influenced by the director of clinical training at the time, the late Hugh Davis, who helped me learn to be pragmatic and not take myself so seriously.

People would be surprised to know: I am a native North Floridian and grew up on a farm in Greensboro, Fla., in Gadsden County. I worked on the farm every year until I went to graduate school. After working on a farm, academics is a much easier life. My father is the fifth generation to work the same piece of land.

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