College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Frederick Meeker Memorial Fund

University Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Fredrick Meeker

Frederick B. Meeker, Professor Emeritus and Library Docent, passed away on December 31, 2015 at the age of 83.

Dr. Meeker, who preferred to be called Fred, arrived on the Cal Poly Pomona campus to teach psychology after completing his doctoral degree in 1972 at Claremont Graduate School. His dissertation, “Perceptual Learning of Discriminations in Winetasting: Exploratory Studies,” focused on students’ abilities to distinguish the unique flavors and floras of wine. He suggested that while college students may possess discerning beer preferences, they might not be as experienced with wine due to their age. This research allowed him to collaborate with Ralph Hutchinson, a former professor in Cal Poly Pomona’s Economic Department.

Although Fred’s original area of research was in psychophysics, during his tenure in the Behavioral Sciences Department (1970-1999), he also taught research methods and social psychology. His interest in a wide range of social phenomena was apparent in his later research; one article he co-authored examined gender differences in preferences for opening, or “pick-up” lines.

Fred’s manner as a colleague and teacher was always engaging and accessible. Behavioral Sciences alumni remember Fred's office filled with collections of cigar boxes, origami and wind-up toys. The cigar boxes were converted into music boxes, while the origami, folded by Fred himself, would be given as gifts. The wind-up toys were distractions from the more serious discussions he made himself available for during office hours.  

Fred's passion for psychology was infectious and apparent in both his formal teaching and informal interactions with his students. He was dedicated to bringing the discipline to life in the classroom. He brought research alive in discussions and practice, and was central in providing students opportunities to attend undergraduate research symposia as well as professional psychology meetings. During his tenure at the university, Fred mentored many students toward careers in psychology or related disciplines, though, ironically, he was vehement in his claim that he had “never mentored anyone” in his life.

Even after retiring as a professor in 1999, Fred continued to be interested in CPP & its students.  He volunteered at the concierge desk and greeted students and faculty as they came into the library. He enjoyed being on duty when Cal Poly’s diverse community strolled into the library during the afternoon rush.

Fred was a member of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and a fellow of the Western Psychological Association (WPA). At WPA, Fred had a leadership role in developing the annual lecture series, “The Last Lecture,” in which psychologists recognized for their contribution to both research and teaching are asked to provide a lecture as if it were the last one they would give.  The lecture series stands as a modest legacy to Fred’s dedication to melding both aspects of the discipline of psychology into a thought-provoking experience.

In memory of Fred’s dedication to providing students’ access to psychological research and the professional meetings in which it is shared, a scholarship fund has been initiated.  The Frederick Meeker Memorial Fund annually provides up to $1000 to an undergraduate student to present original research at a professional psychology or sociology meeting.  Contribute to this scholarship.

A memorial celebration in Fred’s honor will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. in the University Library Events Room (4829).