Linda Mealey


Dr. Linda Mealey was a true scholar, enthusiastic instructor and faithful friend. Her promising career was cut short in November 2002 due to cancer, yet she leaves a wealth of articles, ideas and memories for colleagues and friends. The International Society for Human Ethology is honoured to offer the Linda Mealey Award for Young Investigators. Linda was a great believer in welcoming new students to our discipline and worked hard to recognize and promote good work.

Linda Mealey was born on December 17, 1955, in San Diego, California, though she lived most of her early years in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her PhD in December 1984 at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1985, she accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of St. Benedict in St.Joseph, Minnesota; she was promoted to associate professor in 1991. Between 1996 and 1998 she was associated with the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she held positions as adjunct associate professor, senior lecturer and honorary research consultant. Her 2000 textbook, Sex Differences: Development and Evolutionary Strategies, received impressive reviews. In addition to her scholarly work, Linda was a member of fifteen professional societies, and was the president of ISHE.

The professional legacy of Dr. Linda Mealey will live on through her published works and academic activities which should inspire young investigators everywhere. Most importantly, her life and legacy will remain in the minds of her colleagues and friends always.

Tributes to Linda Mealey

The cloud that hung over the ISHE meeting in Montreal has not disappeared. Our wonderful friend and colleague, Linda Mealey, passed away on November 5, 2002. She would have been 47 on December 17th.

Linda combined the best of everything that made a true scholar. She was smart, insightful and creative. She called it as she saw it, but kept her comments on the level of scholarly criticism. She was also a dedicated teacher who cared a great deal about attracting new students and young investigators to our organization.Linda was not in Montreal, but her presence was strongly felt. Unable to deliver her twin study of facial asymmetry and parental favoritism, she faxed copies of notes and handouts to me Рshe did so several times when it turned out that pages were missing. She worried about the business meeting and managed to make important materials available. I spent several sessions exchanging e-mails with her from the Internet cafe across from the hotel Рwe mostly discussed ISHE. Above all, Linda was my good friend and I know that ISHE meetings will not be half as much fun for me without her. But I smile thinking of the time that I knew her.

– Nancy Segal

Besides serving as ISHE President, Linda undertook many additional responsibilities. She was a Councilor of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, and chaired the Aaron Beck Award Committee of the Across-Species Comparisons and Psychopathology Society. I think it helped ISHE to have Linda active in these sibling societies. While undertaking these administrative duties, she has kept up her scholarship and extensive teaching. As is her style, she has published studies on a wide range of topics in top journals, and usually with her undergraduates as coauthors. She has also published an impressive number of letters, book reviews, encyclopedia entries, and journal commentaries, again illustrating her dependability and dedication. The previous issue of the Bulletin carries a typically clear, careful and informative book review by Linda. Before being President, Linda served very ably for five years as Book Review Editor of the Bulletin, which I was editing then. She wrote reviews, solicited them, and, as you can imagine, dogged those who had agreed to submit them but were dilatory.

Some momentous events in the history of ISHE took place during Linda’s tenure. The European Sociobiological Society merged with ISHE. Successful congresses were held in Salamanca and Montreal. And the Owen Aldis bequest was offered.

It was this last event that entailed a tremendous amount of work and worry for Linda. As explained to me by a tax lawyer, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is afraid of granting tax-exempt status to any organization that might shift money to terrorists, so it now imposes onerous requirements on organizations applying for such status. As a result, Linda expended untold hours of labor trying to understand the arcane legal requirements and to satisfy tax agents with little understanding of scientific societies. Her labors and persistence proved fruitful. ISHE now has secured tax-exempt status and the bequest will be received intact. The Society and human ethology will reap the benefits of her work for the indefinite future.

In honor of Linda’s dedicated service to the Society, We have decide to name our biennial Young Investigator Award, the Linda Mealey Award. The award was something very valuable in her eyes, and she worked very hard to publicize it, manage it, and keep the contest open and fair.

Linda was more than just the president of our Society, fulfilling presidential duties. She took a real personal interest in the people who made up the society, and worked tirelessly to recruit new members. She was a terrific colleague who made ISHE such a wonderful academic home for people interested in human ethology. We will all miss her dearly.

– Glenn Weisfeld