The University was saddened to learn of the passing of former staff member and alumnus Professor Norm Feather. He died peacefully after a short illness, aged 93 years.

Prof Feather arrived at the New England University College (the precursor of the University of New England) in 1947 on a teacher’s college scholarship. By the early 1950s he had almost completed his Bachelor of Arts with Honours when he became one of the first residents of the newly built Wright College and was later appointed a fellow and senior resident fellow.

As well as completing his Diploma in Education (at the Armidale Teacher’s College) and Master of Arts with Honours at the newly autonomous UNE, Professor Feather launched his professional career at UNE, as a lecturer in 1952, and helped develop the distance education offering for psychology. Progressing to a senior lecturer and then Associate Professor, he took leave in 1958 to complete his PhD with the University of Michigan as a Fulbright scholar (the first of two such scholarships), but returned to UNE in 1960 and gave another seven years’ service before joining what is now Flinders University. There, he became the foundation professor in psychology.

Prof. Feather was a prolific academic author and in 2016 was awarded an AM for his significant services to Higher Education as an academic author and editor in the field of Social Sciences.

As an alumn, Prof Feather was active in the South Australian Chapter of UNE’s  Alumni. Fellow alumni remember him for his warmth, intellect and loyalty. The tributes below were shared with Pulse by Chapter President Grace Taylor:

“While I personally didn’t know your father, I appreciated his enlivening speech to our Chapter only a couple of years ago on occasion of his 90th birthday. It was so special to hear about those early days at UNE, and get a glimpse into his life, well lived.”

“Please know what a difference Norm made to others, his friendship, and his inspiration through his contribution to the fields of psychology, human behaviour and motivation.”

Tribute to Professor Norman Feather AM by Jenny Teasdale AM on behalf of the Teasdales family

Friend and colleague Norm Feather has left us but not without a legacy. As undergraduate students in the early sixties we knew him as a lecturer at the University of New England. There we learnt to respect his scholarship and his expansive knowledge of Psychology, his chosen field.

We came to know him better in Adelaide when we became colleagues at Flinders University. In his professional academic role he was never content to ‘rest on his laurels’.  His thorough teaching, meticulous researching and prolific publishing provided an exemplar to colleagues and to other academics around the world.

However, it was our involvement with Norm and his talented wife Daryl, through the South Australian Chapter of the University of New England Alumni Association in its earliest days, that led to our friendship. They were loyal supporters of our Alumni Chapter from its inception. After the premature passing of Daryl, Norm continued this close association, even after his move to Melbourne. A Distinguished Alumni award from the University of New England was just one of the many honours received by Norm in his distinguished career. He carried every award with dignity and distinction.

Norm was always glad to see us, greeting us with warmth and affection. We visited him in his tastefully appointed apartment in Melbourne earlier this year. His welcome and the ensuing conversation was not idle chatting, but serious and stimulating engagement. Until his passing Norm remained a man of wisdom and integrity. It was a privilege to know him.

Vale Professor Norman Feather AM