Lloyd Lofquist

Lloyd Henry Lofquist was more than the prototypical University of Minnesota-trained psychologist—he devoted the greater part of his life to the university and to the field of counseling psychology. Born in Minneapolis in 1917 into a tradesman’s family, Lofquist spent his entire life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, area, except for the period 1942-1946 when he was abroad in the military where he earned the rank of captain and a bronze star. For 2 of those years, 1943-1945, Lofquist was a psychologist in the Personnel Branch of the U.S. Army’s Adjutant General’s Office and applied the counseling and personnel skills he had learned while completing his master’s degree in 1941 at the University of Minnesota, one year after completing his B.A., also at Minnesota.

When Lofquist returned from World War II, he took a position as Counseling Psychologist at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration hospital, where he rose to become its chief while at the same time completing his Ph.D. at Minnesota in 1955. In that year, his graduate adviser, Donald G. Paterson, the architect of applied psychology, recruited Lofquist to return to the Minnesota Psychology Department to become the head of its new Counseling Psychology Program, which focused on vocational rehabilitation counseling and vocational psychology.

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Shortly after Lofquist arrived back at his alma mater, he secured a 2-year research grant from the then U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for a follow-up study of rehabilitation counselees, which then resulted in funding the Work Adjustment Project from 1959 through 1972. It was this project, in conjunction with working with his colleagues George W. England, Rene V. Dawis, and David J. Weiss that gave rise to the theory of work adjustment and to an empirical research program that lasted 30 years.

Lofquist’s research productivity, all focused on vocational psychology and work adjustment, consisted of 15 published journal articles, five books, and 49 book chapters and research monographs. While on the University of Minnesota faculty, from which he retired in 1989, Lofquist served as the Co-Principal Investigator of the Work Adjustment Project for its entire existence and as the first Director of the Counseling Psychology Program; at the same time, Lofquist was also responsible for beginning and managing for many years the Department’s Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Student Training Grant and for founding (with Rene V. Dawis) the University’s Vocational Assessment Clinic, which today still provides vocational counseling services based on the theory of work adjustment to Minnesota residents.

Like many Minnesota-trained psychologists, Lofquist’s professional activities included a balance of theory, research, and applications. In addition to these professional accomplishments, Lofquist found time to serve the university as well—he was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1967-1970, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1970-1973, and Chair of the Department of Psychology from 1975-1985. His contributions to the field of vocational psychology, through the theory of work adjustment and the research and instruments that it spawned, continue to influence the field through his many former graduate students, their students, and future generations of students.


  1. Dawis, R. V., England, G. W., & Lofquist, L. H. (1964). A theory of work adjustment. Minnesota Studies in Vocational Rehabilitation (No. XV).
  2. Dawis, R. V., & Lofquist, L. H. (1984). A psychological theory of work adjustment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  3. Dawis, R. V., & Lofquist, L. H. (1993). From TWA to PEC. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 43, 113-121.
  4. Lofquist, L. H., & Dawis, R. V. (1984). Research on work adjustment and satisfaction: Implications for career counseling. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Handbook of counseling psychology (pp. 216-237). New York: Wiley.
  5. Lofquist, L. H., & Dawis, R. V. (1991). Essentials of person-environment-correspondence counseling. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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