Dr. G. Wilson Shaffer, longtime Hopkins deanDr. G. Wilson...


September 22, 1992

Dr. G. Wilson Shaffer, longtime Hopkins dean

Dr. G. Wilson Shaffer -- honored for his nearly four decades as a faculty member, psychological counselor and administrator with a building in his name on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus -- died of pneumonia Saturday at Union Memorial Hospital.

Services for the 91-year-old dean will be private.

Dr. Shaffer lived his entire life in Baltimore, growing up in the east side Patterson Park neighborhood where he developed considerable athletic talents in basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball.

He had a pitching tryout with the New York Giants, under the eyes of John McGraw, but turned down the offer of a contract in favor of continuing his education.

A 1920 graduate of City College, he took up studies at Johns Hopkins -- initially in economics, but switching to psychology -- a decision prompted in part by his experiences as a city recreation league coach, touched by the personal problems brought to him by his young players.

He received his bachelor's degree in 1924, and a doctorate in psychology in 1928, when he was named chief psychologist at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital. He held that title until 1974, and was a three-time president of the Maryland Psychological Association.

Dr. Shaffer joined the Hopkins faculty in 1934, becoming a lecturer in psychology and director of sports, bringing together his two greatest professional interests.

On the Homewood campus, he was determined to see every able-bodied student participating in competitive sports, which he viewed not as both psychologically important and an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum.

He reorganized the Hopkins athletic program to make intramural competition available as recreation for all who wanted to participate, and to eliminate any of the commercialization becoming a dominant characteristic of many college sports.

"What we were trying to do at that time," Dr. Shaffer said in 1977, when his history of Hopkins athletics was published, "was to make a distinction between those colleges that presented recreational activities for students and those that were in the public amusement industry."

Among Dr. Shaffer's radical changes were the elimination both of admission charges for sports events and financial guarantees to visiting teams -- or to Hopkins teams on the road.

"We would like to win, of course, and we probably shall win our share of games," he said at the time. "But we honestly are not primarily concerned about winning. The important thing is to put as many teams as possible in competition and to keep them playing."

Dr. Shaffer also wrote a paper in the late 1930s, "Recreation as a Preventive and Therapy for Social Maladjustments," reviewing the benefits to mental health derived from participation in athletics, and also studied and lectured on the psychology of humor.

He created the Hopkins Mental Health Clinic in 1936, and was its director until 1973 -- the year he retired.

In the years between, his positions included dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1942 to 1948, and dean of the Homewood Schools from 1948 to 1967.

He was an adviser to seven Hopkins presidents. And among his lasting administrative accomplishments was the creation of the Hopkins Graduate Board, with university-wide jurisdiction over the doctorate degree.

He was a recipient of the university's Eisenhower Medal in 1967, and the next year Dr. Shaffer's contributions to Hopkins and thousands of its students were recognized in brick and mortar with the dedication of a classroom building, Shaffer Hall.

Dr. Shaffer is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, the former Margaret O. Cowles.

The couple had no children, but he told The Sun in 1973, "I always tell people I've had about 5,000 sons." Josephine M. Ziegler, who had served as service officer of the Hamilton Post of the American Legion before moving to Salisbury 12 years ago, died Saturday of cancer at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Graveside services for Mrs. Ziegler, 70, are at 10:30 a.m. today at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Hurlock.

The former Josephine M. Finocchio was born in New York City and served in the Army as an air traffic controller at Hill Field in Ogden, Utah, during World War II. She moved to Baltimore after her marriage in 1945 to William J. Ziegler.

In addition to her husband, her survivors include two sons, Albert Dennis Ziegler of Medford, N.J., and John William Ziegler of Salisbury; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Dr. David Bodian

Medical researcher

Dr. David Bodian, one of a group of three researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health who helped lay the scientific groundwork for the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines, died Friday of Parkinson's disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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