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Dr. Timothy D. Maxwell ’78, 1956-2020

The Hendrix community is saddened by the March 2 death of Dr. Timothy D. Maxwell, who began teaching in the Department of Psychology in 1989. 

Maxwell graduated from Hendrix in 1978, then went on to earn a Master of Theological Studies from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology in 1983. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1990.

Fellow Hendrix faculty remember Maxwell as a beloved colleague, mentor, and friend who enriched the Hendrix community in a variety of ways, including passionate teaching, meaningful student advising, and more than twelve years of dedicated service as department chair.

“No one’s teaching has had more impact on the growth and success of the Psychology Department, its faculty, and its students than Dr. Tim Maxwell’s,” said Dr. Jennifer Peszka, Charles Prentiss Hough Odyssey Professor of Psychology. “‘I became a psychology major because of Dr. Maxwell’ is an accolade expressed countless times at Hendrix. Dr. Maxwell mentored students discerning their vocational paths, turned them towards service and improving the lives of others, and used current evidence-based theories to teach understanding and the delivery of the most effective care to people with mental illness. He was an exceptional, engaging, and challenging teacher. Students loved his enthusiasm for psychology, his fantastic lectures, and the way he led insightful discussions, provided rigorous expectations, and exemplified great teaching.” 

“Tim was an invaluable mentor in my early years at Hendrix, patiently helping me learn the craft of teaching and generously sharing his own expertise and sound advice,” said Dr. Leslie Templeton ’91, professor of psychology and associate provost for faculty development. “I particularly appreciated his emphasis on a healthy work-life balance, and remember his support for my family leaves with my two sons. This balance was evident while I was a student at Hendrix in his first or second year of teaching. I remember him bringing his younger son Cameron to class one day because he had an ear infection and couldn’t go to day care. Tim held Cameron in his arms while he walked back and forth and lectured, keeping his voice low so Cameron could drift off to sleep, and set an example in that hour of one way to successfully reconcile the responsibilities of family and work.”

Dr. Chris Spatz ’62, professor emeritus of psychology at Hendrix, recalled Maxwell as a professor who had earned the deep respect of his students and colleagues. “Tim was a warm, empathetic colleague with a dependable streak of seriousness,” he said. “Still, he regularly found and shared humor about events. He contributed to Hendrix in many quiet ways.”

Maxwell is survived by his wife, Carol, and his sons, Colin and Cameron.

A Memorial Service for Maxwell will be held on Saturday, March 7, at 1 p.m., at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock (1101 N. Mississippi St.) with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall.

A Celebration of Life for Maxwell will be held at Hendrix College on Thursday, March 12, at 11:10 a.m., in Reves Recital Hall with a reception to follow in Trieschmann Gallery. 


Photo taken on Honors Day 2016, when Dr. Maxwell received the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Exemplary Teacher Award. From left: Psychology faculty members Dr. Ruthann Thomas, Dr. Leslie Zorwick, Maxwell, Dr. Jennifer Penner, Dr. Leslie Templeton, and Dr. Jennifer Peszka. 

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit