May 15, 2019

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I am very saddened to share with you the news of the passing of Professor Emeritus John Whealdon Cotton (1925-2019).

Dr. John Cotton was an extraordinary scholar and leader in our community. He held a dual appointment on our campus as Professor of Psychology and Education. His research and teaching in educational psychology have had a lasting impact in the field; he was the author of six textbooks in educational psychology, statistics, and computer-assisted education. His research areas included computer-assisted instruction and artificial intelligence as well as research in the area of statistical theory.

Professor Cotton joined our campus in 1960 from Northwestern University, where he had served on the faculty since 1952. His leadership at UC Santa Barbara included service as Department Chair of our Psychology Department and as Associate Dean of our Graduate Division. He also served as Director of the UCSB Bureau of Educational Research and Development. After his official retirement in 1993, he continued conducting research.

Dr. Cotton was born in McMinniville, Oregon, and studied at Willamette University until WWII, when he began serving in the U.S. Navy. After the war he returned to Willamette where he earned his B.A. in Psychology. He completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at Indiana University. Along with conducting research and teaching, he was an engaged leader in several community organizations, including work in the areas of civil rights and human services. He was recognized for this work as a Santa Barbara Volunteer of the Year.
By all accounts he was a wonderful mentor and distinguished scholar. 

Our campus flag is lowered in his honor today, May 15. Our deepest condolences are extended to his wife, Anne Cushing Cotton, and his children, as well as to all of their family members, colleagues, and friends.


Henry T. Yang