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Steer, Max David (1910-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Steer, Max David (1910-)
Variant Name: Steer, Mack

Historical Note:

Max David Steer was an internationally known authority in bio-acoustics and experimental phonetics applied to speech and language pathology. A New Yorker who devoted his entire professional career to Purdue, Steer graduated from Long Island University with a B.S. degree in psychology and speech. He completed an M.S. degree in pathology, audiology and voice science and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology, speech pathology and voice science at the University of Iowa. Professor Steer became the first Distinguished Professor in the School of Humanities, Social Science and Education at Purdue University since the school was formed in 1963. Steer also served as department head of the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences from 1963 to 1970.

Steer, who is listed in Who’s Who and American Men of Science, was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree from Long Island University in 1957. He received the Honors of the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1958, and was elected to the select membership of the Collegium International de Phonologie Experiementale in 1969. He was a member of Sigma Xi and a Fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

Steer also performed government work beginning with joining the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1942 as aviation psychologist and head of the Acoustic Laboratory, School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida. He was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1946 when he returned to Purdue. Other government work throughout his career included serving as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Division of Research of the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped in the U.S. Office of Education and as a consultant to the Bureau of Higher Education Division of Graduate Programs of the same agency. He also participated as a Consultant for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Past president of the American Speech and Hearing Association and the American Speech and Hearing Foundation, Steer was also chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the former organization and was also as vice president of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics.

Having served on many state committees over the years, Steer was one of the founders and a past president of the Indiana Speech and Hearing Association, and also served as chairman of the Indiana Hearing Commission and consultant to the Fort Wayne State Hospital and Training Center.

Steer was a past president of the University Club at Purdue University and devoted considerable time to various academic committees and served on the Graduate Council, the University Senate, the Faculty Athletic Affairs Committee, the Campus Appeals Committee and the Purdue Research Foundation.

Author of more than 135 articles and research reports, Steer served as a visiting lecturer in universities at home and abroad on subjects of psycho-acoustics, bio-acoustics, experimental phonetics and speech pathology.

He married the former Ruth K. Pittleman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942. She received a master’s degree in psychology from Purdue. They conducted and published many research studies together in the field of psycho-acoustics.

Sources: Materials in collection
Note Author: Shauna Borger

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