Nadine Lambert, a Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leader in school psychology and establishing mental health programs in schools, died Wednesday, April 26, in a car accident near campus. She was 79.
Friends also lauded her for fighting to bring women leaders into higher education at a time when that wasn't the norm.
At the time of her death, Lambert was en route to the Graduate School of Education, where she was a professor emerita of education and an advisor and mentor at the school's joint doctoral program in education leadership.
Lambert founded the school psychology program at the education school in 1964, her first year at UC Berkeley. The National Institutes of Mental Health supported the program for 18 years as a model for preparing school psychologists.
More than 160 graduates have completed the program and gone on to become school psychologists, researchers, consultants and university educators. One graduate, Frank Worrell, is now an associate professor at the Graduate School of Education and director of the school psychology program Lambert headed for 40 years.
"Ultimately, we have lost a personal advocate and a strong and knowledgeable colleague, and the Graduate School of Education and I are diminished with her passing," said Worrell.
"She taught generations of students how to use consultation with teachers as a way to indirectly reduce classroom problems and to prevent the occurrence of learning and behavior problems in the general school population," said Carolyn Hartsough, a faculty member and researcher at education school and coordinator of its school psychology program.
Early in her career, Lambert was part of a team of investigators for the California State Department of Education that was assigned to establish and evaluate programs for children with educational handicaps, including those with what is commonly known today as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The team's work led the first state legislation supporting educational programs for children with learning and behavioral disorders.
After that, Lambert launched research at UC Berkeley that culminated in a 30-year longitudinal study of 492 children -- about half of them with ADHD -- that documented life histories of the participants from kindergarten into early adulthood. She documented the prevalence of hyperactivity and the various treatments for it.
Lambert created a stir when she reported to the National Institutes of Health in 1999 that the children in the study who were treated with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin to control ADHD started smoking cigarettes earlier, smoked more heavily and were more likely as adults to abuse cocaine and other stimulants than those not taking such medications.
Those findings, she said at the time, raised serious questions about the risks associated with Ritalin and similar drugs.
"She had a vision of what she wanted to accomplish for school children and for the profession of school psychology, and she never wavered in her determination to carry forward that vision," said Hartsough. "She set a high standard for herself and her students, and she elevated the level of discourse in every professional setting in which she participated."
After retiring in 1994, Lambert became a Professor in the Graduate School at UC Berkeley. That title is given to select emeriti faculty members who are fully engaged in research on campus and who continue to contribute with distinction to the graduate program.
A native of Ephraim, Utah, Lambert grew up in West Hollywood, Calif., and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at UCLA in 1948, a master's degree in education at Los Angeles State University in 1955, and her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Southern California in 1965.
She and Barbara L. McCombs co-authored "How Students Learn: Reforming Schools Through Learner-Centered Education" in 1998.
Lambert received numerous awards, such as the Senior Scientist Award from the National Association of School Psychologists in 2005, and she was the "Legend in School Psychology" speaker at the association's convention in 1998. Lambert became an honorary member of the association in 1996.
"The insistent sound of her heels tapping as she marched into work every morning, except when she was confined to bed by illness, will be remembered by many in Tolman Hall," home of the Graduate School of Education, said Hartsough.
Lambert is said to have loved cooking and spending time at a home she maintained in Forestville, Calif. She was a devoted fan of UC Berkeley athletics and had season tickets for Cal's basketball and football games.
Survivors include her daughter, Laura Allan of Oakland, and son, Jeffrey Lambert, of Palo Alto. Her husband, Robert Lambert, died in 1984.
A memorial for Nadine Lambert is set for 4-7 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, in the Chevron Room of International House at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way.
A fund to support fellowships in school psychology has been established at the Graduate School of Education in her memory. Contributions should be made payable to the UC Regents, marked in Lambert's memory, and sent to the Graduate School of Education's development office, 3615 Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1670.
To give online, go to https://colt.berkeley.edu:444/egiving/MainForm.ASP, click on "GSE Designated Programs" and note "Nadine Lambert Memorial Fund" at the bottom of the form.