Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs

Ronald G. Slaby, Ph.D.

November 21, 2014

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Graduate class of 1962, Ronald G. Slaby, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist, scientist, and educator. Slaby has his doctorate in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He has worked at Harvard University, the Education Development Center, and Children’s Hospital Boston. He contributed to the prevention of youth violence and the influence of media on children and youth. His extensive writings include Early Violence Prevention: Tools for Teachers of Young Children, and Aggressors, Victims and Bystanders: Thinking and Acting to Prevent Violence. Slaby was elected as a fellow by the American Psychological Association.

Slaby was deeply honored to receive a letter from Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skinkis, inviting him to the Alumni Achievement ceremony and informing him that he was nominated. Slaby was extremely surprised to hear from RBHS.

“As an RBHS student, I knew I had sometimes disagreed with the policies of the RBHS administrators, but I never imagined that they would take their revenge by hanging me on the wall 52 years later,” Slaby joked.

He continued to say, “But seriously, I am also deeply grateful to have the chance to recognize and thank many others for all the wonderful support they have given to me.”

Slaby is extremely grateful for the experiences RBHS had to offer when he was a student.

“As an RBHS student, I knew we were obtaining a wonderful education. But now, from the broader vantage point of having spent my career in the fields of education, psychology, and research, I can clearly see that RBHS offered us (and now continues to offer you students) a world-class education,” he said.

Slaby continued, “It prepared me and my classmates to launch off into virtually any career path we chose, and it will do the same for you if you take full advantage of what RBHS has to offer.”

Many of Slaby’s teachers have inspired him, including Mr. G. Keith Weiss, the late Mr. Richard Calisch, and the late Mr. Richard Fogg. He has kept in touch with several of them over the years. He also had the opportunity to meet Ms. Angela Ziola and the psychology classes she teaches.

When asked about his favorite memory from RBHS, Slaby recalls his senior year Sociology class. His teacher, Mr. Richard Fogg, assigned a unique research project that gave students the freedom to research anything they wanted to. The one catch was that each student had to convince the teacher that the topic they picked was the thing that they found most interesting in their lives and wanted to study most of all.

“ We had been taught many things, but we had never before been challenged to identify what was most important to us.” Slaby recollected.

As for Slaby, he picked a topic that is the center of his life now.

“After long and careful consideration, I chose to do a research project on parent-child relationships––a topic that I have continued to pursue throughout my career as a developmental psychologist, educator, and research scientist.” he said.

When asked if he had any advice for current RBHS students, Slaby left some interesting insight from the well-known anthropologist, Margaret Mead, who once spoke to a group of students when he was attending the University of Wisconsin.

“She pointed out that for most people throughout the world, their only opportunity is to simply work hard to maintain the world as it is. Yet, as university students we were extremely privileged to have the education and opportunity not only to maintain the world, but also to improve our world and make it a better place.” said Slaby.

Slaby continued, “The same is true for you as RBHS students today. You are indeed highly privileged to have the opportunity to receive a great education, work hard, keep your eye on the prize, and contribute to making the world a better place. I challenge you to do so.”

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