Herschel Allan (Al) Dye, professor emeritus of Rollins College, passed away Nov. 27, 2019, at age 88. Al’s distinguished career as a counselor educator spanned 35 years at primarily two universities, serving as program chair at both. He co-authored one of the profession’s earliest texts in group counseling (Diedrich & Dye, 1972). In 1996, he was presented with the Eminent Career Award by the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW). The “Al Dye Award” has also been established by ASGW to annually recognize a significant publication in the division’s journal.
H. Allan Dye was born in Union City, Indiana. After earning two degrees from Ball State University (between which he served for two years as a sergeant in the U.S. Army) and a doctorate from Ball State University/Purdue University, Al joined the faculty at Purdue in 1963. After 28 years at Purdue, where he served as clinic director, was awarded the school’s outstanding teacher award, and served as program chair, Al accepted a position as chair of the program at Rollins College. During his years in that position, Al led the program to recognition by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) when it was presented the ACES national award for excellence. Al retired from Rollins in 1998.
In addition to his exemplary contributions in the area of group work in counseling, Al also contributed significantly in the area of supervision. During his career, Al chose to teach three different times overseas, both for Ball State University and Boston University. During this latter appointment, Al met Tom Clawson who notes, “Al was an early proponent of supervision in our profession. There was a time when the profession was so new that we didn’t yet see the need for clinical supervision. Today, like licensure, we take it for granted that it’s necessary for all. But Al had the wisdom and vision to lead us along with other pioneers. He had a real understanding of just what supervision is and how to practice it well. Al is another mentor who will be dearly missed by many.”
Rex Stockton, a longtime colleague from Indiana University, describes his highly satisfying professional and personal relationship with Dye. “My first contact with Al was when he was president of APA Division 49. He called and asked me to chair the Research Committee, which started a long history of good contact. Al was very competent but didn’t show off. I will always value and treasure our time together over many years and many events. He was a very steadfast and genuine friend. I already miss him.”
Stockton’s comment that Dye didn’t “show off” is indicative of another endemic trait of Al’s — his unique combination of candor and humor. Bob Conyne, remarking on his days as a doctoral advisee in the late 1960s, perhaps says it best when he notes, “In a word, Al was an Authentic note, with a capital A. He was always himself in any role he undertook. Among other things, this meant that Al did not suffer fools lightly, while being the kindest and funniest human-being-professor a student could ever hope to have. He remained a lifelong mentor to many including, I am graced to say, me. Al’s memory will last forever.”
Those who were fortunate enough to work with Al knew not only of his dedication to his work and the profession, but also of his deep humanity. Former doctoral student Don Ward says, “Al was very alive and made all around him more alive and aware. Makes sense that he taught others in the classroom and through interaction to embody this incredible characteristic. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.”
Janine Bernard remembers that Al didn’t like the word “mentor” because it had become institutionalized, thus losing much of its meaning. This was a case where Al chose to walk the walk rather than talk the talk. Interestingly, many who benefited from their time with Al referred to his substantial ability to mentor them.
Al’s unique and user-friendly mentoring style is noted by Kathryn Norsworthy, a colleague at Rollins College. “I loved working with Allan. He was our department chair during the first six years of my time at Rollins and quickly became my mentor, guide and dear friend. I will always remember his wit, his wise council and how he would put things in perspective through his jokes, stories and metaphors when I was whining to him in his office about something. Allan skillfully took us as a program through our first CACREP accreditation process, and it is what it is today because of his terrific leadership.”
Another former doctoral student, George Leddick, captures the combination of mentoring and forming lasting relationships in his comments. “Allan was my dissertation adviser and subsequently my friend for 42 years. I was a doc student when he served as ASGW president, and I converted a speech he made into a class handout. Al spoke with his usual honesty and transparency when he described the stages of group dynamics with infectious enthusiasm. It was satisfying to pass his handout along to my students for 25 years.
“Al treated me with the same self-effacing good humor, kindness and inclusion he extended to most people. He involved me in the ACES committee on counseling supervision, and he was later a member of the committee that initiated a supervision curriculum and credential. He was a founding member of ASGW, an ASGW fellow, and served the organization in countless ways over 40 years.”
Dick Hackney was a colleague at Purdue from 1969 to 1984. He also attests to Al’s influence both as a professional and as a person. “When I arrived at Purdue straight out of doctoral study, I was the ‘new kid’ within a fairly well-established faculty. I was desperate to prove myself and, at the time, this took on a competitive flavor. It was Al who offered me what I really needed — what felt like unconditional support as well as a good dose of humor. He didn’t take himself seriously, and he wasn’t about to take me seriously. And thank God for that. When I left Purdue in 1984, I knew that I’d never have a finer friend in my personal or professional life. Al Dye was a profound gift to me, and I am eternally grateful for that.”
Al could both disarm and delight with his clever, sometimes outrageous, sense of humor, always bonded with his warmth. This unique combination of traits was experienced by Larry Fujinaka when he arrived at Purdue in 1964 as a doctoral student. He met Al, who would be his adviser, and Al noted that Larry was a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawaii. Al then asked if his textbooks were in English. Though stunned, Larry recognized the twinkle in Al’s eyes and found someone who could help him navigate the cultural divide between the Midwest of the 1960s and Hawaiian culture. This included when the registrar at Purdue told Larry that he could recover his grades at the International Student Center, seeing as how Larry was from Hawaii. Larry visited Al in Florida in his later years. They had remained friends for 45 years.
Laughter and enjoying Al’s clever sense of humor was intrinsic to any relationship with Al. As Tom Clawson notes, “From the first day I met Al until an August 2019 dinner shared with him and his wonderful wife Roni, I never stopped being in awe of his wisdom and wit. I never was with him that I didn’t laugh heartily. Al knew more people than I’ll ever know, and he was remarkably good in keeping touch with so many.”
Janine Bernard knew Al both as an instructor during her doctoral study at Purdue and as a colleague when she joined the faculty. “Al was simply the best kind of instructor and the kind of colleague everyone wishes they had. When I was a student, there was nothing intimidating about Al. It makes sense that he was attracted to group work because he was able to encourage people to be a bit braver than was their custom and to become more authentic as a result. When I became a member of the faculty, he gave me several opportunities to do things that helped get my career off the ground. Al was a wonderful writer and editor. And he was extremely generous, including in his letters of recommendation. When Al wrote a letter for you, you weren’t just competent, you were ‘smart, insightful, courageous, industrious, and wise!’ Perhaps there was a little projection in those letters, as Al certainly stimulates an abundance of adjectives as his past students and colleagues remember him.”
Al is survived by his wife Ronica R. Dye; daughters Leigh Schlegel, Christy Constande, and stepdaughter Diane Khalsa; and five grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in Union City, Indiana, in April 2020.