William C. Stebbins, professor emeritus of otorhinolaryngology in the Medical School, professor emeritus of psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and retired associate dean of the Rackham Graduate School, died April 24. He was 85. Professor Stebbins was born in Watertown, New York to Jean Reginald Stebbins and Kathleen Heile Stebbins. He graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in 1947. Professor Stebbins went on to receive his A.B. degree from Yale University in 1951 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University in 1954 and 1957, respectively. He served as an assistant professor at Hamilton College from 1957-61 and was a NIH postdoctoral fellow in Physiology and Biophysics in the Physiology department at the University of Washington from 1961-63. Upon the completion of his fellowship, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Michigan jointly in the Department of Psychology and in the Kresge Hearing Research Institute where he remained until his retirement in 1996. He wrote or edited 7 books, 30 chapters, and more than 100 research papers primarily in the area of bioacoustics, which includes the measurement of sensory function, particularly hearing, in animals. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and an interdisciplinary course in primate behavior for students in biology, anthropology, and psychology. Within the University, Professor Stebbins played many important leadership roles, serving as acting director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, chair of the Biopsychology area and of the graduate program in the Department of Psychology. He was elected a member of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs in 1984 and served as chair from 1986-1987, receiving the Distinguished Faculty Governance Award for this service. In addition, he served as LS&A ombudsman, and as the Associate Dean for Faculty Programs in the Rackham Graduate School for three years. Among Professor Stebbins’s contributions at the national level was his service as president of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. His many contributions were recognized by his election as fellow in four national organizations: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Acoustical Society of America, The American Psychological Society, and The American Psychological Association. He was also a member of Sigma Xi, the International Primatological Society, and the American Society of Primatologists.
He is survived by his wife, Katie, his three daughters, Elisabeth, Leslie, and Rebecca, his son-in-law Tom Blumenthal, three grandchildren, his sister, Kathleen Gamble, several cousins and many nieces and nephews, and his beloved dog, Rose.
-- Contributed by Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, Chair of Psychology, based on memorials and
other recognitions written by colleagues and family