Dr. Robert Proctor, 74, passed away on Monday, October 30, 2023. Dr. Proctor is remembered as an experimental psychologist who emphasized the importance of using evidence-based research about human information processing in the design of simple and complex systems. Dr. Proctor earned his PhD from the University of Texas, Arlington in 1975. He joined Purdue University in 1988 as a Full Professor and remained there for the rest of his career. In 2007, Dr. Proctor received the title of Distinguished Professor. He was a Fellow of HFES, an Editorial Board Member for Human Factors, and a long-time faculty advisor for the Purdue Student Chapter of HFES. He authored Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems (3rd edition, 2018), a textbook that guided the development of many students in Human Factors. In 2018, Dr. Proctor was awarded the Paul M. Fitts Education Award by HFES.
Dr. Proctor’s academic legacy includes 38 PhD graduates, 24 books, 66 book chapters, 325 journal articles, and 26 book reviews and commentaries. Although Dr. Proctor was known and admired for his productivity and quality of research, he is remembered by many as kind-hearted and supportive. Dr. Proctor practiced DEI principles long before it was popularized, with many of his students coming from underrepresented backgrounds (i.e., women in STEM, racial minorities, first generation college students). Dr. Proctor tailored his mentoring approach to meet his students where they were. With unwavering dedication and guidance, he not only helped them unearth their career paths but also provided the essential support to propel them towards their desired destinations. Dr. Proctor was also viewed as a supportive mentor for junior colleagues at Purdue and beyond. He was an award-winning mentor, and many of his mentees are active members of HFES and successful human factors professionals worldwide.
Dr. Proctor is survived by his wife, Janet, and sons, Matthew and Scott Proctor. He will be missed as a great researcher, teacher, mentor, and colleague.
Submitted by: Kim Vu, Jim Miles, Jing Chen and Aiping Xiong
Back to News Feed