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by The Register-Guard Staff
University of Oregon (UO) Psychology professor Beverly Fagot of Eugene, a prominent figure in child development research, died March 27 of complications from breast cancer. She was 60.
“It’s a great loss to psychology. It’s a great loss to the university. It’s a great loss to the many friends she had here and in other parts of the country,” said Dick Littman, a UO psychology professor since 1948.
Fagot was born March 22, 1938, in Phoenix to Dorothy and Albert Fields. She attended West High School in Phoenix and graduated as class valedictorian in 1956.
She earned a bachelor of arts from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1960. She earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the UO in 1967. At the UO, she met Robert Fagot, a psychology professor, whom she married in Eugene on April 1, 1961.
Beverly Fagot had worked at the UO since 1965, initially in the Office of Academic Advising. She was an instructor and assistant to the director before serving as the office’s director from 1969 to 1977. Fagot worked as an assistant professor and then associate professor in the psychology department from 1978 to 1987, when she became a full professor.
She divided her time between the psychology department and the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene, where she had served as a research scientist since 1982. She also had an affiliate appointment at the UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society since 1984.
She earned a prominent place in the field of developmental psychology. Fagot conducted pioneering studies to uncover gender-typing pressure carried out by parents and to look at children’s understanding of gender. She also conducted studies that looked at how families influence the development of children’s behavior problems.
Fagot was working on two studies at the time of her death, “Origins of Mental Health in the Family” and “The Process of Fathering”.
“She was just a really major figure in the field of children’s development. Any textbook you pick up about an introduction to psychology will have her name in it,” said Dare Baldwin, a UO associate professor.
Baldwin said Fagot was one of the most energetic and optimistic people she knew. “One remembers her as pretty much always smiling”.
Her interests including cross country skiing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, swimming and studying ancient rock art. She participated in national rock art research associations and symposia. She also supported organizations dedicated to children’s welfare.
Survivors include her husband, two sons, a daughter-in-law, one grandchild, a sister, and her parents. Memorial contributions may be made to Birth to Three, Planned Parenthood, and the Eugene Relief Nursery.
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 1997, The Register-Guard, www.registerguard.com.