Memorial service for Professor Harvey Mandel

There will be a memorial service for Harvey Mandel, professor of psychology and director of the Institute on Achievement & Motivation at Founders College. The service will be held on Monday, March 7, at 10.30am in Winters Dining Hall, Room 002 Winters College.

Dr. Harvey Mandel (right), professor of psychology in the Faculty of Arts, died suddenly on Sept. 14, 2004, after suffering a heart attack while delivering one of his highly popular, often inspiring lectures.

The service will be a celebration of Dr. Mandel’s life. He was known as “an exemplary educator, a model for those of us who knew him, for young psychologists, for many thousands of students.” Members of the York community are invited to pay tribute to Dr. Mandel. Those who wish to share their memories at the service should e-mail Karen Cochrane at

Following the service the Chair of the Psychology Department, Professor David Reid, will host a reception at Winters Dining Hall. Please email Karen Cochrane,, or call ext. 55116.

Dr. Mandel, a licensed clinical psychologist in Ontario, received his BSc degree from McGill University, where he majored in psychology and physiology, and his MSc and PhD degrees in psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

He was honoured with teacher of the year awards three times: in his department (1996), in the Faculty of Arts (1998) and across the University (2000). His undergraduate course in Abnormal Psychology was one of the most popular courses at York.

“He had a devotion and a humanity about him,” said Reid. “He really got through to people. On a personal note, I relied on his superb judgment. He was like a brother to me as an academic colleague.”

In 1986, Dr. Mandel founded the Institute on Achievement and Motivation at York University. At the institute, he conducted research on why some 20 per cent of high school and university students do not perform to their full potential, and how to help them achieve it. The research resulted in the development of a computerized psychological test that identifies different types of underachievers. Known as the Achievement Motivation Inventory, the test is now used in high schools and universities across North America.

Dr. Mandel also authored the best-selling book for parents of underachievers, Could Do Better: Why Children Underachieve and What to Do About It (1995, HarperCollins). He was a sought-after speaker at many school boards in Canada and the United States.