I did not do the best job at keeping up with Rich. My research developed in directions that took me away from shared professional circles and my jobs took me several states away. I saw and heard less and less of him, until I eventually lost contact. I understand that this often happens, and I have grace with myself in that regard. That said, I regret not saying a number of things to Rich that I should have and now cannot. Foremost among these is how thankful I am that he worked with me, and how invaluable I found the lessons that I learned from him. Every single one of my students has received pieces of wisdom that I learned from him.
The lesson that I most often pass on to my students is the importance of good, fundamental science. In his direct-but-nonthreatening way, Rich would often remind me that impressive statistics cannot overcome the deficiencies of a limited design, and that a good design can be incredibly powerful even with the simplest of mathematical analyses. This lesson lives profoundly in the work of my lab, where--despite the challenges of implementing these when doing engaged work in applied community settings--quasi-experiments are a regular occurrence (along with the occasional randomized trial).
Through his approach to mentoring, Rich taught me to be compassionate and professional with students. He mentored so many students, and did it so well, that he is my archetype of a good advisor. He was timely and thorough with feedback, direct-but-welcoming in his tone, and maintained excellent boundaries. Any good advising that my students receive indirectly comes from Rich.
Through his approach to life and work, Rich taught me not to make work the sole feature of my existence. Rich worked as hard, or harder, than most faculty members. However, (at least during the time that I was in graduate school) Rich traveled somewhere spectacular for a healthy portion out of each Summer. Rich’s example has landed me all over the world, and I am a better person because of it.
Throughout his career, Rich published almost two hundred scholarly publications, primarily on issues surrounding the development--and experiences--of children who are affected by attention disorders. Because of his work, we better understand the way in which children with these disorders develop over time and how to help them better enjoy the game of baseball. I think he found both to be important aspects of his legacy.
Rich was a remarkable scientist and, arguably, an even better mentor. I am incredibly thankful for his influence on my life and career. If there is an afterlife, I hope it gives me the chance to get to sit with him again, enjoy his dry, sometimes awkward wit, and thank him profusely for the incredible influence that he had on my life and career.