Remembering Howard M. Weiss, Pioneer in Organizational Psychology

A spring memorial is planned for Howard M. Weiss, emeritus professor and a former school chair at Georgia Tech and Purdue, who died in February. The event will include the announcement of a new student award in Weiss’ name.

March 5, 2023

Georgia Tech and the College of Sciences community sends its condolences to the family and friends of Howard M. Weiss, emeritus professor and a former chair of the School of Psychology at both Georgia Tech and Purdue University. Weiss died February 20, 2023 in Smyrna, Georgia.

A Georgia Tech memorial event is being planned for later this spring, according to Ruth Kanfer, professor in the School of Psychology and a longtime colleague of Weiss. Details are forthcoming, and the event will be a tribute to Weiss’ service, scholarly contributions, and mentorship, Kanfer said. The event will end with the announcement of a new student award in Weiss’ name.

Weiss was a pioneer in the adoption of a person-centric perspective in industrial and organizational psychology. In 1996, he and Russell Cropanzano proposed Affective Events Theory (AET), a powerful new theory that delineated the role of work events, emotions, and moods on on job performance and decision-making. AET has since become a major theory driving research and practice in work psychology.

"Beyond his impressive accomplishments, Howard was widely known and respected for his keen analytic skills," said Tansu Celikel, professor and chair of the School of Psychology.  "At the same time, Howard was a beloved colleague with a warm and approachable demeanor. He was always willing to lend a helping hand or offer words of advice, which I personally appreciated tremendously and benefited from significantly."

Randall Engle, professor in the School of Psychology, first met Weiss when he was on an evaluation team for the psychology department at Purdue. “I was quite impressed with his desire to build a strong research and teaching-oriented department.” When the Georgia Tech chair position became open, Engle called Weiss and encouraged him to apply. 

“I was always impressed with his thoughtful mind and his desire to train scholarly graduate students, one of whom became a regular attendee at my own lab meetings,” Engle said. “Howard was a thoughtful, generous, and caring person, and I will miss him.” 

Howard M. Weiss, obituary from the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Indiana:

Howard Marc Weiss, 73, passed away in the early morning on February 20, 2023, in Smyrna, GA. 

Howard was the son of Milton and Eleanor (née Schonholtz) Weiss. He was born on August 19, 1949, in New York, NY. Howard attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and then went to George Washington University where he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1969. Howard then attended New York University where he received a Ph.D. in 1975.

Upon his graduation from NYU, Howard became an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University, where he worked until his retirement from Purdue in 2012. Howard then went to Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, where he stayed until his ultimate retirement in 2022. Howard had a long and distinguished career in the field of work psychology. He served as department head of psychology at both Purdue and Georgia Tech, and he was named professor emeritus at both universities. 

Howard met Jeanne Ann DiLeo while the two were students at George Washington, and they were married in Jeanne’s hometown of Port Washington, NY on December 9, 1971. The couple had three children: Eric Spencer Weiss, Jeffrey Aaron Weiss—who tragically predeceased Howard in 1990—and Jacob Michael Weiss.

Howard was a devoted husband and father who loved his family more than anything in the world. He and Jeanne were nearly inseparable throughout their 51 years of marriage, and all of Howard’s favorite memories included Jeanne and his three boys.

Howard was the embodiment of a scholar throughout his life. He loved to read, learn, and challenge himself intellectually. Howard instilled his academic nature in his sons, and he was so proud of Eric and Jake for both graduating from Vanderbilt University and attending Johns Hopkins Medical School and Emory Law School, respectively.

Howard was also an avid golfer and fan of the game. He loved nothing more than watching golf with his family, and he was as proud of his hole in one on #5 at Purdue’s Kampen Course as he was of almost any accomplishment in his life. Howard also loved photography, swimming in his pool, and traveling the world. 

Howard is survived by wife Jeanne, sons Eric and Jake, brother Michael and brother-in-law Michael DiLeo. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider making a donation to Be The Match Foundation or to a local charity of your choosing. Thank you.

A message and tribute by Tansu Celikel, professor and chair of the School of Psychology:

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Howard Marc Weiss on February 20, 2023. A beloved member of the Georgia Tech community, Howard was also the chair of the School of Psychology from 2012-2017. Howard retired from Georgia Tech and was named emeritus professor in 2022, but continued being an integral part of our community.  

Born in New York on August 19, 1949, Howard received his undergraduate degree in psychology from George Washington University before going on to earn his Ph.D. from New York University in 1975. He joined Purdue University the same year as an assistant professor of psychology and remained there until his retirement in 2012. Howard was recruited to the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Psychology in 2012. 

Howard has had a stellar career and was a pioneer in person-centric work psychology.  Just a small collection of five of his papers that focus on affect and cognition in the workplace has been cited more than 16000. He mentored countless students, published well over 120 peer-reviewed publications, and served as a school chair both at Purdue and Georgia Tech.

Beyond his impressive professional accomplishments, Howard was a critical thinker and beloved colleague. He had a warm and approachable demeanor. He was always willing to lend a helping hand or offer words of advice, which I personally appreciated tremendously and benefited from significantly.  

He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and countless students whose lives he touched over the course of his illustrious career.

Rest in peace, Howard. Your contributions to applied psychology, the School of Psychology, and the Georgia Tech community will be forever remembered and cherished.

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Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences