Honoring a Mentor

Summer 2015

Honoring a Mentor

Shelton Hendricks was a senior at Tulane University, and he didn’t know where his future was headed. Then he enrolled in Arnold “Arnie” Gerall’s physiological psychology course, and the rousing lecturer made the science of behavioral biology come alive.

“I had no intention of going into research until I took Arnie’s course my senior year,” says Hendricks. “I just loved his course and it changed the shape of my career.”

Hendricks never forgot that charismatic man who had such an influence on his life and career. Gerall passed away in 2013, and Hendricks is honoring him by giving back to Tulane University School of Science and Engineering. His gift will complete the funding for an established award for student researchers, a cause that was close to Gerall’s heart.

Following undergraduate graduation in 1963, Hendricks completed a masters and doctoral degree under Gerall’s tutelage at Tulane. Now retired, Hendricks served 43 years on the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Department of Psychology.

“I met Arnie as an undergraduate student but did my graduate work under his direction. He was such a great role model as a scientist and teacher,” says Hendricks. “We remained colleagues and friends throughout his life.

Gerall was a noted behavorial neuroendocrinologist and a longtime faculty member in the Tulane Department of Psychology. Known as a dynamic teacher and inventive researcher, during the course of his career, he mentored more than 30 doctoral students. Most of those students followed Gerall’s example with a career in research and academia.

Gerall’s friends, colleagues and former students provided the initial funding for the Arnold A. Gerall Award for Distinction, which is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in neuroscience and psychology. Hendricks’ generosity has given the award an endowed status and it will now provide the awardee with funding for conference travel and a research stipend.

“This award was what Arnie wanted,” says Hendricks. “He was such a big supporter of student research, and it’s a small encouragement for a student beginning their research career. I’m really happy to be able to do this.”

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