L. Dodge Fernald

L. Dodge Fernald, instructor 1960-61, Professor of Psychology, 1962-67; coach of varsity skiing, freshman soccer, and freshman lacrosse, died on March 1, 2017, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

(The following was published online at Legacy.com, March 10, 2017:)

On March 1, Dodge Fernald of Wellesley died as he had lived, with courage and kindness. Dodge was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Lloyd Dodge Fernald and Gladys Neff Fernald. Together with his brothers, Kent, Jack, and Peter, he enjoyed a childhood enlivened by sports and pranks. He embraced enough academic rigor at The Hotchkiss School, in addition to captaining the varsity basketball team, to attend Amherst College, where he displayed his athletic talent on the soccer and lacrosse fields. In 1955, during four years of service in the Navy, Dodge married his college sweetheart, Marjorie Maxwell. Together they port-hopped around the Mediterranean Sea, Dodge on the vessels Des Moines and Newport News and Marjorie with a group of Navy wives. Upon leaving the Navy, Dodge earned a master’s degree from Harvard University. Although committed to the discipline of psychology, he hopped among colleges as he had among Navy seaports. After earning his doctoral degree, he taught at Bowdoin College, Cornell University, and Wellesley College, with sojourns as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Madrid and the University of Santiago de Compostela. Eventually, he returned to Harvard as Assistant Dean of Harvard Extension School, and he relished teaching the course dreaded by other professors — the undergraduate course in introductory psychology. In 2012 he retired after 51 years of teaching. In addition to entertaining and stimulating students with his lectures, Dodge authored a number of books on psychology. During decades of writing, he developed a signature approach that explained psychology through stories — written by his students, inspired by his children, and reflecting six perspectives of psychology. Interviewed by a grandchild near the end of his life, Dodge declared his hobby to be “playing with words.” Dodge was best known in Wellesley as a soccer coach. After coaching the men’s varsity team at Bowdoin College, he found his true calling as a coach of the Purples, Blacks, Hotspur, Rowdies, and Clovers (the first girls’ team in Wellesley), among other youth teams in the Wellesley town league, the Boston Area Youth Soccer League, and at Wellesley High School. Dodge had an unusual ability to meet his players at their level and combine their individual strengths to build teams with skill and spirit. Dodge’s infectious enthusiasm, sense of humor, and consideration of others are his treasured legacy. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Marjorie; his children, Lucinda, Darcy, Stephanie and Kirk; his brother, Peter; and his grandchildren, Tyler, Alexa, Lucinda, Liam, Ann Foster, and Max. Although Alzheimer’s disease eventually stole Dodge’s ability to captivate his listeners with a story, he cheered others with quips even in his final days. To celebrate Dodge’s memory, his relatives, students, players, and friends are encouraged to bring laughter into someone’s life through a pun, joke, or wordplay.

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