William & Mary

Obituary for Neill P. Watson III, W&M Psychology Professor Emeritus

Neill P. Watson, III, 69, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, died on November 10th after a short illness.  Neill Watson joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology in 1976 as an Assistant Professor of Psychology and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2004.  He received his B.A. in Psychology in 1969 from Yale University summa cum laude and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University in 1976.

Professor Watson and colleagues developed and launched the Virginia Consortium Program in Professional Psychology in 1978 jointly sponsored by William & Mary, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. Since the program’s inception, Professor Watson served as the Director of Clinical Training for the College until he retired in 2005.  He served as the Chair of the Council of Directors of the entire program from 1988 until 2005.  Under his leadership, the Psy.D. program prospered and grew into a nationally recognized program for the training of clinical psychologists.  The program first gained approval by the American Psychological Association in 1982 and has maintained accredited status continuously since that time. Much of this success is due to the tireless efforts, passionate commitment to the program, and exceptional administrative competence of Professor Watson.

Professor Watson’s contributions to William & Mary were not limited to his administrative service.  He conducted an active program of research that examined the discrepancy between real-ideal and real-ought self-concept and how the magnitude of discrepancy is associated with depression and anxiety.  He supervised nearly 40 students in their Psy.D. dissertation, M.A. thesis, and undergraduate Honors thesis research and served on the committees of countless others.  As a testament to his dedication to his students, Professor Watson received the Graduates’ Award for outstanding contributions to the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology on two occasions.  His dedication to his students is revealed in the frequent co-authorships on professional publications with both graduate and undergraduate students.  He was a model for integrating teaching with scholarship to the benefit of students and his discipline alike.

Outside of academia, Professor Watson was a big music fan, playing guitar and singing in a jazz and R& B band, “Silver.”  He was an avid swimmer and could often be found at the gym.  His wry sense of humor, his interest in others’ well-being, and kindness will be missed in the department.  A devoted father, Professor Watson is survived by one daughter, Anna Ruth Cory-Watson, three sons, Damon Thayer Cory-Watson, Adam Zachary Watson, and Gavin Kerr Watson, and two grandchildren, Violet Jeanne Cory Costello and Desmond David Watson Costello.

The funeral will be held this Saturday, November 19, at 4:00 pm at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church.  In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the American Friends Service Committee.  Condolences can be left online at http://www.bucktroutfuneralhome.net/obituary/neill-watson/.