John M. Digman: 1923-1998

I spent the summer of 1996 working with Jack Digman and his fellows at the Oregon Research Institute. We all had lunch together most working days, and we found pleny of shared interests in and around the area of personality psychology. Jack helped me learn the fine art of scientific writing. He was a warm, genuine person, and will certainly be missed. Lew Goldberg wrote the following comments.
Jack Digman died on May 25, 1998 of a cerebral hemorrhage; he was anticipating his 75th birthday this June 14th. An ORI colleague since 1991, Jack and I had lunch together most working days; I will miss him so very much.

Jack was hugely influential in popularizing the five-factor model of personality structure, in part through his own seminal work on teacher's ratings of child temperament, in part through his creative reanalyses and syntheses of other studies of personality structure, and in part because of his influential essays on the history of the five-factor model. At least two of his scientific papers are citation classics, his 1981 article in Multivariate Behavioral Research with one of his students, Takemoto-Chock ("Factors in the natural language of personality"), and his 1990 chapter on "Personality Structure" in the Annual Review of Psychology. He was an early member of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and served as its president in 1978-1979.

Jack spent most of his boyhood in Cincinnati, Ohio; he attended Ohio State University, where he obtained his B.A. in 1948 and his Ph.D. in 1951, both in Psychology. From 1951 to 1991, he taught in the Psychology Department at the University of Hawaii, where he served as President of its Faculty Senate in 1966-1967. Upon his retirement, he became a Research Scientist at Oregon Research Institute. Most recently, he was awarded a four-year research grant through ORI from the National Institute of Mental Health to assess the present physical health status of over a thousand former school children whom he had assessed via teachers' ratings back in the early 1960's.

As a scientist, Jack was most interested in the personality dimension labeled Conscientiousness, but as a human being he personified the factor of Agreeableness. I know of no one in the world who was so universally viewed as considerate, warm, kind, gentle, good-natured, peace-loving, helpful, conciliatory, good-hearted, modest, patient, tolerant, sympathetic, cooperative, loyal, and agreeable. In a world that includes snakes and vultures, he was one of the rare panda bears.

Jack was loved by many. He will be sorely missed by all.

Last modified January 2001
Visited times since July 2001

Home to Five-Factor Model

Home to Great Ideas in Personality