Peter Prenzel-Guthrie, age 87, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 15th. Peter taught Psychology at Carleton from 1960 until 1992. His interests included the history of this country's treatment of people with mental retardation, the nature, causes, and treatment of developmental delay, and related topics in the areas of learning, cognition, and motivation.
Peter was known as a dedicated teacher and mentor. Neil Lutsky writes that "Peter hired me, and one of the attractions of Carleton was the prospect of working with him. I was fortunate to have him as a colleague. He was as kind and supportive a soul as I have ever met. He cared for and encouraged faculty in his role as department chair. He was warm and positive and set the highest personal example of dedication to students. He would do whatever it took to help, encourage, and prod students. He enjoyed psychology and shared his enthusiasm with students and colleagues."
Peter was also known for his sense of humor and storytelling. Kathie Galotti remembers his "stories about the earlier days of psychology at Carleton, where faculty would try to capture pigeons from the chapel bell tower (to use as laboratory subjects); stories of hilarious comps proposals generated by students over the years—the most memorable of which to me was one that began, 'I will take 1000 chimpanzees and divide them into an experimental and control group...'. He is sadly missed but remembered with a big smile."
There will be a memorial service for Peter on Saturday, January 4th, at 2pm in the Carleton Chapel. A more complete obituary will be forthcoming. Remembrances of Peter may be left at the Carleton "Farewells" site at:
Please hold all of Peter's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
In sorrow and faith,