Irving L. Herman, a psychologist who was an Aerojet executive and business professor at California State University, Sacramento, died July 4 after a brief illness, his family said. He was 93.
Industrial psychology was an emerging field when Dr. Herman began his career after World War II as an expert on behavior and management of people in work settings. He was a civilian adviser at Air Force bases in Texas and Sacramento before going to work at Aerojet in 1958. As director of training, he was involved in developing the Polaris and Minuteman solid-rocket motor programs.
He joined CSUS in 1969 as a professor of human resources management and later served as chairman of the department of organizational behavior and environment. He established the student chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management and received awards for teaching excellence.
Dr. Herman also served as a management consultant to major Sacramento companies and organizations. But he remained devoted to teaching and mentoring students in developing interpersonal and management skills.
"He required students to keep journals documenting their development in a course," business professor Margaret Cleek said. "He read and dealt with these journals on an ongoing basis. It was a tremendous investment of his time to give students feedback about their work."
Born on June 6, 1920, Irving Leonard Herman grew up in Seattle and was a track star in high school. He graduated magna cum laude at the University of Washington in 1942 and served in World War II with the 32nd Infantry Division and in military intelligence under Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific.
He earned a master's degree and a doctorate in industrial psychology from Stanford University. He retired from CSUS as professor emeritus in 1995.
Dr. Herman was remembered by family and friends as a humble man with a gentle nature, warm smile and twinkling eyes. After retiring, he enjoyed attending public events at the CSUS College of Business Administration and catching up with former students he met around town.
"He was so unassuming," said his daughter Michelle Ferkel. "His favorite thing to do was reading. He loved my mom deeply, and he loved and was very proud of his children and grandchildren."
Besides his daughter, Dr. Herman is survived by his wife of almost 67 years, Jeanne; another daughter, Debbie Shapiro; and four grandchildren. A service was held Tuesday at Home of Peace Cemetery in Sacramento.
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