Howard E. Mitchell: Advocate of Equality

Dr. Howard E. Mitchell, Sr., UPS Foundation Professor Emeritus of Human Resources and Management, died September 30 at the age of 78. He was a psychologist by training who went on to encompass management and organizational behavior, human resources development, management of a culturally diverse workforce, and corporate social responsibility among his specializations.

Dr. Mitchell received a B.S. in psychology from Boston University in 1943. He came to Penn for his Ph.D., taken in 1950 after he had served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. For his contributions during the War, he was later to received the Presidential Award for Service, presented by President Clinton at a ceremony in 1994.

When Dr. Mitchell joined the faculty at Penn in 1955 as an assistant professor of family study in psychiatry, in the School of Medicine, he was the second black faculty member hired at the University. He was the director of research in the division of family study in the department. On leave from Penn, he served as associate director for research and training of the Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement from 1963 until 1964. He returned to Penn as the director of the GSFA Human Resources Center from 1964-74. In that capacity he was affiliated with the Albert M. Greenfield Center for Human Relations and the Graduate School of Education. After teaching in Penn's College for Women as well as in GSE, he then taught in the Graduate School of Fine Arts. During this period Dr. Mitchell was included in a national education television show, "Men Who Teach," as one of ten outstanding teachers in the U.S, in 1968.

He went on to become the University's first incumbent of the new UPS-endowed 1907 Foundation Professor of Urbanism and Human Resources in GSFA's city and regional planning department, 1967-73. He was appointed to the Conservation Foundation's Task Force on the Relationship of the National Park Service to the City in 1972.

He moved to the Wharton School as the UPS Foundation Professor of Human Resources and Management, 1974-78, when he also founded the Wharton Human Resources Center, which he directed until 1984. Dr. Mitchell remained at Wharton as the UPS Foundation Professor of Human Resources and Management, from 1978 until he retired in 1992. He directed the school's Center for Transit Research and Management Development from 1982-84; Wharton was selected to be one of eight such centers in the country to solve national transit problems.

Dr. Mitchell established a consulting firm, Mitchell & Mitchell Associates, Ltd., in 1983 in conjunction with his wife Nadine, a former Haverford College English professor. In 1990, he and his firm received the U.S. Department of Transportation's Minority Business Enterprise Award for "initiatives in business development and service to the Urban Mass Transportation Administration." He was a consultant for numerous agencies and companies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, SEPTA, Squibb Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, New York Transit Authority and the U.S. Forest Service in Portland.

The Black Wharton Undergraduate Association established the Howard E. Mitchell Scholarship in 1986; it is presented annually at a Forum on Black economic development. The 14th Annual Howard E. Mitchell Forum was held February 5-6, 1999; it focused on Blacks in the Media: Perspectives from Within. The Howard E. Mitchell Fellowships were established in 1992, awarding graduate fellowships and internships in sponsoring business corporations.

A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Mitchell received an honorary degree from Philadelphia College of Art in 1969. He also was honored by Sigma Kappa Phi with the Outstanding Professor Award, Wharton Evening School, in 1982-83 and 1990-91. Originally from Indiana, Dr. Mitchell was appointed a Chieftan with the title "Sagamore of the Wabash; Council of the Sagamore of the Wabash, State of Indiana," by the Governor in 1989.

Dr. Mitchell is survived by his wife, Nadine, his son, Howard, Jr., M.A./J.D. '75; his daughter-in-law Wendy and three granddaughters. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Howard E. Mitchell Scholarship Fund, Office of the Dean, Wharton School, 1000 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 7, October 12, 1999