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David Kohrman '66


Dr. David Kohrman, full professor in the Counseling Program at Sul Ross State University, died Dec. 20, 2010, after an extended illness.

Kohrman taught at Sul Ross for over nine years; his courses included graduate studies in Ethics, Assessment, Clinical Practice, and Family Therapy. Among his other duties, Dr. Kohrman advised students seeking a Master’s in Education in order to serve as school counselors, community mental health counselors, and licensed professional counselors. One such student, Dr. Tamara Olive, is now a professor in the Counseling Program at Sul Ross.

“Dr. Kohrman was an excellent instructor,” Olive said. “He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience as a clinician to the teaching venue. As my instructor, he prepared me for my work both as a licensed professional counselor and as a university professor. Dr. Kohrman inspired and encouraged me to pursue my doctorate. He continued to mentor me as I learned to work in the field of higher education. His support and affirmation made a huge difference in my life and I hope to live up to the example he set. He maintained high standards and was a model of ethical, professional behavior. He loved his students, and even at the very end of his life continued to serve their needs and was concerned about their future success. He will be dearly missed by us all.”

Born in Chicago in 1946, Dr. Kohrman grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, and Cleveland, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University and his Master’s in Counseling and Educational Psychology from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Returning to California, Dr. Kohrman obtained certification to teach at the elementary, secondary, and community college levels. Dr. Kohrman attained his Ph.D. in Human Behavior in 1976 from United States International University in San Diego, California. His dissertation, entitled California Community College Counselors’ Functions and Professional Training, reflected his interest in the role of counselors in higher education.

Moving to Arizona after graduate school, Dr. Kohrman worked as a clinical psychologist, primarily in private practice, and later as a school psychologist and counselor. In 1984, during his tenure as a clinical psychologist at a state juvenile facility in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Kohrman met his lovely wife, Michelle, at the University of Arizona where she was finishing her undergraduate degree. This began their 26-year love affair, during which they enjoyed their shared interest in psychology and education, affinity for the natural environment and the peace they found in it, and appreciation of animals, both domestic and wild. Michelle currently intends to remain in Alpine.

Kohrman moved to Texas in 1992 to join the faculty of Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, where he served until his departure for Alpine and Sul Ross in 2001.

During his tenure at Sul Ross, Dr. Kohrman taught not only in the Education Department, but also in the Psychology Department where he taught a practicum for graduate students. He enjoyed a long-time friendship with Dr. Jim Case, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, who noted the following:

Human nature, being what it is, makes it hard for us to label one another, but I am going to do just that. I had the opportunity to get to know David fairly well over these past several years. We talked politics, we talked religion, we talked the virtue of animals, we talked family, we talked of his love for Michelle, we talked of his love for his pets, we talked while in the car, we talked at Thanksgiving dinners, we talked at New Year’s parties, we talked over lunch...we talked. And I’ve decided, at least for today, that David was a Franciscan.

David and St. Francis of Assisi seemed to share some fundamental spiritual values. For example, take the adage attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel, i.e., the good news, at all times…and when necessary use words.” I like those words--live those values that give meaning to your life so clearly and with such conviction that one doesn’t have to ask you what you believe, they know it from your life. And David did that. David didn’t have to speak of his love for others to me, although he did, because I saw it so clearly in his actions. I saw that love first-hand when he drove me on more than one occasion to doctors in Odessa and Midland when he himself was traveling to San Antonio regularly for medical treatments. Tired from his own trips, he found the energy to help a friend.

Even his professional life seems Franciscan to me. Both as a psychologist and as a professor, he worked to bring healing to people. His life was given to bringing hope to those in despair, light to those in darkness, and joy to those in sadness.

And certainly in his love of animals, David seems Franciscan. David would have appreciated the words of St. Francis, “If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Anyone who knew David knew of his love of animals, his enormous willingness to give a home to cats and dogs that would otherwise have lived lives of hunger and homelessness—even if it meant he made sacrifices in his own comfort. David was a living shelter of compassion and pity for homeless animals—he loved them.

And finally, could David have been any more innately Franciscan in his living and his dying? The wisdom of St. Francis was “it is not fitting, when one is in God's service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.” There was not a time that I was ever in David’s presence—before his cancer, during his struggle with cancer, and even the last time I saw him in Odessa one week before he died, when he was certain of his death--that he manifested a spiritual and physical countenance other than peace and love.

So whether or not David, or you, would agree that David Kohrman is really Franciscan, maybe you can understand in part why I could see the same spiritual moorings in David and St. Francis. We all will miss David and our times with David. I expect we will find comfort and healing in our memories of David—and that will please him.


Taken from a page on the Sul Ross University website