Ogden R. Lindsley Jr.

Providence native Ogden R. Lindsley Jr. (1922-2004) moved to North Kingstown at the age of 14 and graduated from North Kingstown High School in 1939. He entered Brown University in 1940, majoring in Engineering.

In January 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He trained as a flight engineer and as a door gunner, and was based in Italy with the 15th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group. His B-24 went down in the mountains of Albania on July 22, 1944. On his 22nd birthday, Lindsley and his crew were captured by the Germans and moved through camps in Yugoslavia to Stalag Luft IV in Poland. From January to April 1945, he was on a forced march from Stalag Luft IV to Hamburg. He escaped in April, weighing only 114 pounds.

He returned to Brown and earned degrees with highest honors in experimental psychology and histochemistry in 1948. He received a Master of Science from Brown in experimental psychology in 1950 and a doctorate in psychology from Harvard in 1957 under the direction of B.F. Skinner. He was director of the Behavior Research Laboratory of Harvard Medical School from 1953 to 1965. In 1965 he joined Kansas University Medical Center as a professor, director of educational research and a research associate in Bureau of Child Research. He was professor of educational administration in KU’s School of Education for 19 years, gaining emeritus status in 1990.

Mr. Lindsley received numerous prizes and awards. He published more than 140 articles, book chapters and books. His work in psychology is recognized worldwide. He made a pledge as a POW that if allowed to escape, he would devote half of his life to helping the world and the other half to having fun-— reasoning that his fallen comrades would have insisted on the latter.

(NOTE: North Kingstown historian Tim Cranston believes Lindsley “had the largest impact upon
the world” of all North Kingstown High School graduates to date.)

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