Dr. John Richardson, Morgan department head

December 22, 1992

Dr. John F. Richardson III, who taught at Morgan State University for more than 30 years and was chairman of the psychology department at his retirement in 1986. died Friday of heart failure at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Richardson, who was 74 and lived in Original Northwood, was described by family and friends as a "people person" who enjoyed interacting with his students.

In his classes, he often demonstrated the power of hypnosis but always warned his students that it was a tool to be used only by experts. He never taught the subject.

Born in New York City, he later moved with his family to Asbury Park, N.J., where he graduated from high school. In 1941, he received a degree in education from Morgan State.

Because Dr. Richardson had once considered studying for the priesthood, he was given the nickname "Cardinal Richelieu" while at Morganf. The nickname would remain with him the rest of his life.

"I guess none of his friends realized that Cardinal Richelieu was Catholic and he was Episcopalian," said Virginia J. Richardson, his wife of 46 years.

He served in the Army Air Forces in the early 1940s before enrolling in a master's program at New York University.

In 1945, he married the former Virginia Jones and the couple settled in Baltimore that same year.

In 1963, he was awarded a doctorate in clinical psychology at NYU.

Dr. Richardson was chairman of Morgan's Division of Natural Sciences from 1966 to 1969.

One of the highlights of his career occurred in 1974-1975 when he helped in the successful effort to gain university status for Morgan, testifying several times before the board of regents and the Cox and Rosenberg commissions.

"He was convinced that this was the way to go if Morgan were to make progress," recalled his wife.

When university status was granted in 1975, Dr. Richardson became the first president of Morgan's Faculty Senate.

Dr. Richardson belonged to numerous organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the Maryland Psychological Association, the Maryland Council on Higher Education, the Maryland Association of Consulting Psychologists, Beta Kappa Chi, Kappa Delta Phi and Psi Chi.

He was also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the nation's oldest black college fraternity.

Dr. Richardson served on many boards and councils, including the Mayor's Advisory Council on Mental Health, the Liberty Community Mental Health Center and the Upton Community Center.

In 1984, he was appointed by then-Gov. Harry R. Hughes to the Board of Nursing Home Administrators.

Until his recent illness, he had arbitrated malpractice cases for the state Health Claims Arbitration Office.

A graveside service for Dr. Richardson was to be held at 1 p.m. today at Arbutus Memorial Park, 1101 Sulphur Spring Road.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Kevin K. Richardson and Michael F. Richardson, both of Baltimore; a brother, Harry D. Richardson of Pitman, N.J.; a sister, Dolores Miller of New York City; a daughter-in-law, Janet Nance Richardson of Baltimore; two grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Morgan State University Christian Center or the Maryland chapter of the American Heart Association.

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