Dr. Wayne Holtzman

A native of Chicago, Dr. Wayne Holtzman earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Northwestern University prior to joining the Navy in 1944. While serving as an anti-aircraft gunnery officer on the U.S.S. Iowa, and later as a communications aide for the Third and Fifth Fleets, Holtzman “became interested in why some of the men in the Navy were breaking down under stress, whereas others weren’t.”

He returned to Chicago with an interest in psychology and psychiatry, earning a master’s degree at Northwestern and then a doctorate in psychology at Stanford University in 1949. That same year, he accepted a faculty position in the psychology department at The University of Texas, which at the time was a small but growing program.

One of the first people he met was Robert Sutherland, who enlisted Holtzman as one of the Hogg Foundation’s “circuit riders” speaking to groups around the state about mental hygiene.

By 1954, the relationship between Holtzman and Sutherland had grown close enough that Holtzman was entrusted to serve as acting director while Sutherland traveled overseas, and he was chosen to lead the foundation’s new research program.

In 1961, Holtzman made what would prove to be his seminal contribution as a research psychologist when he published an inkblot perception and personality test that addressed some shortcomings in the Rorschach inkblot test. The Holtzman Inkblot Technique would go on to be widely used by psychologists and psychiatrists in a variety of settings in the United States and Mexico.

 Holtzman stepped away from the foundation in the early 1960s, first into a one-year fellowship at Stanford University, and then into a position as dean of the College of Education at UT Austin in 1964.

For the remainder of that decade, Holtzman served as a consultant to the foundation and as editor of the foundation’s research monograph series, while holding an endowed faculty position as Hogg Professor of Psychology and Education.

In 1970, Holtzman was chosen to take over as president of the foundation. By then, he had established a vast network of federal, state, and private grant-making agencies that he had been mining to develop new programs at the College of Education. He had built a national and international reputation in the field of psychology with his inkblot perception and personality protocol, and he had held administrative positions with nearly every major national and regional professional organization in psychology. He had also built cross-border partnerships with mental health researchers in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, forecasting a growing hemispheric focus for the foundation.

Holtzman would lead the foundation for the next 23 years and stay on as a consultant for another decade. He continues to serve the university community as the Hogg Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education.