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Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Giving to the University of Michigan is Giving to Family

To Elizabeth “Betty” Bishop, the University of Michigan is family. “It’s weird that I go through a couple of days without having some connection to the university in one of these myriad of ways,” she observes. “It’s really sort of another family. Which is one of the reasons I think I wanted to make sure it was provided for in my planning.”

Bishop, who earned her A.B. in psychology at Michigan in 1972, has made bequests in her will to support several campus entities. This includes establishing the psychology department’s Elizabeth S. Bishop Ph.D. Graduate Student Travel Fund, in gratitude for the excellent professional foundation the department gave her. “They’re the ones that helped me get started in the field. If I had not had a good undergraduate psychology program, I doubt that I would have gotten into a graduate program in clinical child psychology.” The fund will help psychology graduate students, with a preference for those studying clinical psychology, attend conferences, hold internships, study abroad, and participate in field research.

Bishop’s family has been associated with the University of Michigan for three generations. Her grandfather, William Warner Bishop, was the University Librarian and instrumental in the creation of the Library Science Program, now the School of Information. Bishop’s father, William Warner Bishop Jr. was a law professor. Born at university hospital, she attended University Elementary School and University High School before attending the university itself.

From her undergraduate honors thesis through her doctoral work at Ohio State University, Bishop’s research focused on self-concept and other emotional issues of children or adolescents with physical disabilities. As part of her dissertation research, she spent a year at the University of London, where she compared self-concept in physically disabled adolescents attending day schools and those attending boarding schools. Bishop also completed an internship at the Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston.

Before entering private practice, Bishop spent six years in rural Minnesota, doing community mental health work at the West Central Community Services Center. From there, she spent eight years at Meridian Professional Psychological Consultants in East Lansing, building experience in private practice. Bishop returned to Ann Arbor, after inheriting her family home, and launched her own practice, which she called Arbor Psychological Consultants, and where she remained until she retired in 2014.

In her practice, Bishop treated children, adolescents, adults, and college students. She did forensic work in the court system, social security disability evaluations, evaluations in abuse and neglect cases, and psychological assessments. Bishop also spent twenty years as an adjunct faculty at Union Institute & University, a non-traditional program based in Cincinnati, OH, teaching in her Ann Arbor clinic and serving on doctoral committees.

Returning to Ann Arbor gave Bishop the opportunity to reconnect with the psychology department. She regularly participated in career fairs and spoke with students individually and in groups, about private practice and the types of training they would need. It also gave her the opportunity to immerse herself in the intellectual and cultural life of the university and of Ann Arbor, especially enjoying the University Musical Society, the Museum of Natural History, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, football, and men’s and women’s basketball.

Throughout her career, Bishop made it a priority to establish an international career network. Since the early 1980s, she’s been active in the International Council of Psychologists, serving on the board of directors, directing their continuing education program, chairing international symposia, and traveling to conferences across the world. “It has given a fascinating international aspect to what otherwise would be the private practice of psychology in the state of Michigan.”

When deciding how to support the Department of Psychology, Bishop thought back to the critical role international experience has played in her career. “I want other people to have those opportunities,” she explains. “I think it’s very important for graduate students to have the ability to go to conferences to meet other people in the field, particularly people from other parts of the world.” She hopes her gift will help graduate students broaden their professional network, engage in more extensive cross-cultural research, and get an international perspective on their field.