Faculty Memorial - Stephen Kaplan (1936-2018)
Stephen Kaplan, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, and Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the University of Michigan, died July 16, 2018 at the age of eighty-two.
Professor Kaplan received his AB degree from Oberlin College in 1957 and his PhD degree from the University of Michigan in 1962. He joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor of psychology in 1962, and was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and professor in 1971. He was appointed professor of electrical engineering and computer science in 1971.
Professor Kaplan’s influential work focused on the interplay between human functioning and environmental impacts. Frequently collaborating with his wife Professor Rachel Kaplan (Psychology), he was known for his research on the effect of nature on people’s relationships and health. Their work on "restorative environments"; and Attention Restoration Theory influenced how landscape and design professionals and others view humanity's relationship with nature.
He retired from active faculty status in 2013, with over 120 publications to his credit and four influential books on the subject of human interaction with the environment and its effect on psychology, including Humanscape: Environments for People, and With People in Mind (written with Rachel Kaplan).
Throughout 50 years of teaching, students credited Professor Kaplan with changing their way of thinking by helping them see the big picture. He served on 87 doctoral committees chairing or co-chairing 38 dissertations in psychology, computer science, engineering, natural resources, geography, architecture, and nursing. He
taught a wide range of courses from introductory level psychology to advanced graduate courses on neural models, perception and thought. Professor Kaplan received the University of Michigan Distinguished Service Award, the Career Award from the Environmental Design Research Association and was a fellow in the
American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science.
Professor Kaplan is survived by his wife, Rachel, of 61 years, one son, Abram and two grandsons, Sam and Daniel.