Wes Becker died of circulation problems on Sunday, October
29th 2000, in California, where he was undergoing medical
observations. Wes was 73 years old. A resident of Eugene from
1970 through 1993, Wes was a professor of School Psychology,
Educational Psychology and Special Education at the U of O.
From 1978-1989, he was also Associate Dean in the Division
of Counseling and Educational Psychology. Wes served on the
Board of Directors for Oregon Research Institute during the
Wes was a prolific
writer, best known for his four textbooks on Educational Psychology,
and the milestone book for parents - Parents are Teachers.
He wrote more than 100 professional articles, and was a co-author
of what is currently the preferred series for teaching problem
readers in grade 4 thru 12 (SRA's Corrective Reading series).
the Englemann-Becker Corporation, which is located at 8th
and Lincoln, and was co-director of the University of Oregon's
Follow Through intervention model, sponsored by the U. S.
Office of Education as Project Follow Through, an intervention
program for at-risk students in K through 3. The University
of Oregon model had the highest student achievement of all
models in reading, math language, spelling, and science. The
model also resulted in students with the most positive self
Wes Becker was
born in 1928 in Rochester, New York. After serving in the
armed forces, he attended Stanford University, where he received
a BA in 1951. In 1955, he graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D.
in Clinical Psychology and Statistics. Wes became a professor
of Clinical Psychology at the University of Illinois in 1964.
In 1968, he became director of the Bereiter-Engelmann program,
which was an early intervention program for at-risk preschoolers.
In 1969, Wes became director of the Englemann-Becker Follow
Through model at the University of Illinois. The program was
implemented in 20 communities and served more than 10,000
students. The Follow Through grant and most of the staff moved
from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to the University of Oregon
in 1970. In 1980, Wes became the senior founder of the Association
for Direct Instruction, which provides training and assistance
for schools in implementing effective programs and behavioral
practices. Wes was editor of the ADI news until 1993. The
ADI conference held annually in Eugene is the second-largest
annual conference the city hosts.
in 1993, Wes went to Sun City, Arizona where he could be close
to family members. He moved to Sedona, Arizona in 1999. Wes
leaves behind seven children.
Wes was more than
a scholar. He was a pioneer in the use of behavioral principles
in the classroom. His battle cry was "Catch kids in the
act of being good." Those who worked with him were routinely
amazed not only by his skill, but the speed with which he
could do things. Everyone who worked with him learned a great
deal. Perhaps his most impressive quality, however, was the
strength of his will. In the face of terrible setbacks and
impossible deadlines, Wes prevailed. If he promised to get
something by a particular time, it was not only done on schedule,
but done very well. We will miss him greatly.
from a memorial service for Wesley C. Becker held in Eugene
on Thursday, November 2, 2000, and reprinted in the Winter
2001 edition of the Journal of Direct Instruction
courtesy of James Becker