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Late UGA Prof Paul Torrance Honored with annual distinguished lecture series

Late UGA Prof Paul Torrance Honored with annual distinguished lecture series

Athens, Ga. – The work and ongoing legacy of the late University of Georgia Distinguished Professor in educational psychology E. Paul Torrance will be celebrated at the National Association for Gifted Children’s annual convention Nov. 7-11 in Minneapolis.

Known around the world as the “Father of Creativity,” Torrance developed the Torrance Test for Creative Thinking as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota. The test became the benchmark method for quantifying creativity and created the platform for all research on the subject since.

To honor the Milledgeville, Ga. native, the NAGC will launch the first annual E. Paul Torrance Distinguished Lecture Series at this year’s conference. Canadian educational consultant Garnet Millar will moderate the first lecture which will focus on his book, The Torrance Kids at Mid-Life. Millar is a former provincial coordinator for Guidance and Counseling for the Alberta Government’s Special Education Branch. He recently published the revision of Torrance’s biography, E. Paul Torrance: The Creativity Man.

The conference will also host a “Torrance Kids Reunion,” in which at least 100 of the 215 children who attended two elementary schools in Minnesota from 1958-64 and participated in the landmark 40-year longitudinal study will meet again.

In addition, recipients of the Javits-Frasier Scholarship Program will be honored. The teacher training program honors the late New York politician Jacob Javits and the late Mary Frasier, a professor of educational psychology and founding director of UGA’s Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development. Frasier led the way in identifying under-served gifted children in Georgia. Her work resulted in the state tripling the number of African-American and quadrupling the number of Hispanic children in gifted/talented programs.

Torrance, who died in 2003, also created the Future Problem Solving Program and developed the Incubation Model of Teaching. He authored dozens of books and more than 2,000 published articles on creativity during the course of his career, making him one of the most published faculty members in UGA history.

He served as director of the University of Minnesota’s Bureau of Educational Research until 1966, when he joined the faculty at UGA. He served as chair of the department of educational psychology at UGA from 1966-78.

UGA’s Torrance Center, now based in the department of educational psychology and instructional technology, was established after Torrance retired in 1984 to continue his research into the development and evaluation of gifted and creative abilities in individuals from diverse age-groups, cultures and economic backgrounds.

The UGA center hosts a nationally recognized speaker on gifted and creative education in the E. Paul Torrance Lecture each spring. A search is currently under way for an endowed professor for the Torrance Professorship in the College of Education.