SOE News

Professor Emeritus Roy Sommerfeld dies at 93

Roy Sommerfeld, who joined the faculty of the School of Education in 1956 and remained until his retirement in 1979, died at UNC Hospital, July 11, 2007. He was 93.

At the School of Education, he served in the Educational Psychology Program, teaching courses in testing, measurement and psychometrics and advising numerous doctoral students. His research focused on the measurement of people’s attitudes toward education and social issues such as racism. While at Carolina, he also officiated at University basketball and football games through the 1960s.

Sommerfeld was born May 8, 1914, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Western State Teachers College (now Western Michigan University), he taught for three years at Edwardsburg High School. In 1940 he began graduate studies at the University of Michigan but was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941.

During World War II, he served with distinction as the commander of an anti-aircraft squadron in the South Pacific. He was discharged as a captain in 1946, returned to the United States and resumed his graduate studies at the University of Michigan.

Sommerfeld received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1952 and joined the faculty of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), where he taught for four years before coming to Carolina.

An active member of the choir at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, Sommerfeld frequently served as a soloist and bass section leader and occasionally as substitute director. He was a charter member of the Chapel Hill Civitan Club, serving in various elected offices including president and area lieutenant governor. He was an avid gardener and outstanding woodworker.

He is survived by his children Marti, Tom and Pete. Gifts in Sommerfeld’s memory may be made to the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, P.O. Box 127, 400 Flemington Drive, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450 or to the music fund at University United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 728, 150 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.