By Justin Wiley
Chronicle Staff Writer
Georgia Babladelis, a longtime psychology professor at Cal State East Bay who dedicated her life to expanding the role of women in academia, died May 28 of cancer. She was 78.
During her 31 years on the faculty, Professor Babladelis helped develop the university's Women's Studies Program and played a substantial role in the creation of its nursing department. She also was committed to the advancement of women in the field of psychology. Professor Babladelis was the founding editor of the international publication "Psychology of Women Quarterly," the first research journal dedicated to female cognition and behavior.
In 1992, she was honored as one of the 100 outstanding women in psychology at the American Psychological Association's centennial celebration.
"She was a very generous, kind and thoughtful person who loved creating ideas to help institutions and individuals solve problems," said former student and longtime friend Mary Kay Macy.
Professor Babladelis was born Jan. 30, 1931, in Manistique, Mich. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1953 and received a master's degree in psychology from UC Berkeley in 1957. She earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Colorado in 1960.
Before joining the staff of what was then called Cal State Hayward, Professor Babladelis worked at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center in Oakland for three years.
She retired from teaching in 1994, but continued her commitment to feminism by writing and working with the League of Women Voters. She also established the Georgia Babladelis Scholarship, which supports older students returning to school to complete their degrees.
In the early 1980s, she was appointed to serve as the U.S. director of research for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. As the director, she toured the world working to advance the ideas of feminism and women's rights.
Professor Babladelis also loved to travel for pleasure, journeying to numerous countries, including Russia, China and Turkey, said Macy. In Turkey, she found herself correcting the tour guide, who was not as well versed in Greek history as she was.
Macy said she also loved animals, especially cats and gorillas. Her research on gorilla interaction and communication was considered in the design of the San Diego Wild Animal Center gorilla habitat. She observed that gorillas needed to be in family settings. Her love for animals, said Macy, showed the "eclectic nature of her curiosity, wanting to understand how both people and animals interact in this world."
Professor Babladelis is survived by her sister, Helen Dickens of Centerville, Ind.; a brother, George Babladelis of Manistique, Mich.; and many nieces and nephews.
Services have been held.
Contributions may be made to the Georgia Babladelis Fund in Nursing at California State University East Bay, in care of University Advancement, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., WA-908, Hayward, CA 94542.