Psychology lauds first 10 years of Michael Award

By LaKisha Ladson / September 2010

Dr. Carmen Miller Michael, pro­fessor emeritus of psychiatry, knows what it’s like to give. For decades, Dr. Michael, a founder of UT Southwestern’s graduate program in clinical psychology, has given time, energy and financial support to the university and larger community.

She endowed a prize, called the Carmen Miller Michael Award in Clinical Psychology, that has now given 13 psychologists support to con­tinue their careers.

Dr. Carmen Miller Michael (center left) and Dr. Beth Kennard (center right) present the annual Michael Award to Heidi Richardson Rossetti (left) and Jennifer Hughes.

At a July luncheon marking the award’s 10th anniversary, this year’s co-recipients, Jennifer Hughes and Heidi Richardson Rossetti,  joined past recipients to share what winning the Michael Award has meant to them: a recognition of character, a résumé booster, assurance for one student that going back to school in midlife was a good choice.

“I’m so glad these students feel that they have benefited from the award, and what they shared was touching and meaningful to me,” Dr. Michael said.

In 1998 Dr. Michael  knew she wanted to give money to support the psychology program. So Dr. Maurice Korman, also a professor emeritus of psychiatry and a founder of the program, helped create the award idea and criteria of scholarship and citizenship.

“Dr. Michael has served as a role model and mentor to so many students in the areas of scholarship and citizenship,” said Dr. Beth Kennard, professor of psychology and director of the program.

Dr. Michael received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University. She joined the medical school in 1951, serving as its first psychologist in what was then the Department of Neuropsychiatry. She was chief psychologist until 1958, when she began working part time in order to devote more time to raising her children.

Her community work includes being a founder and first chairwoman of what was then called the Dallas County Mental Health Society, now Mental Health America, which later named an award after her.

She was a founder of other organizations, such as what was once called the Dallas Epilepsy Association and of the Com­munity Homes for Adults Inc., which are residential group homes for adults with cognitive difficulties.

Dr. Michael said the endowment, which provided a $1,000 cash prize to the recipients, ranks near the top of her achievements.