John McNulty

Memoriam ,

Image of John McNultyJohn McNulty was an extraordinary academician, researcher and leader whose efforts resulted in significant contributions to the field of personality assessment. John did not take a straight path to clinical psychology.  Rather, after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in finance and accounting, he entered the business world and worked at a large accounting firm.  After several successful years at this firm, John became dissatisfied with the lucrative world of business and finance and was drawn to the study of human behavior and personality.   He had the good fortune to come under the mentorship of Al Harkness at the University of Tulsa who was in the midst of developing the PSY-5 model. John subsequently was admitted to the graduate program in Clinical Psychology at TU where he not only became Al’s student, but also his close collaborator in developing the first set of MMPI-2 PSY-5 scales.   

After completing his internship at the Minneapolis VA, John took a post doc position at Kent State University with Yossi Ben-Porath and Jack Graham.  John worked on the first comprehensive project to establish empirical correlates for the MMPI-2, culminating in his co-authorship of a 1999 book. Also, during his time at Kent, John worked with Auke Tellegen and Yossi Ben-Porath on analyses validating the MMPI-2 Restructured Clinical (RC) Scales, which led to his co-authorship of the 2003 monograph that introduced the scales.

John joined the faculty at the University of Tulsa and re-established his collaboration with his now colleague Al Harkness.  The Harkness and McNulty team founded a lab to investigate the neurobiological basis and adaptive function of personality. During that time John mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students and served as chair of the department. One of John’s colleagues and former department chair described John as the best chair he had ever worked with.

John also made very impactful service contributions to the field. He served twice on the University of Minnesota Press’s Advisory Board, advising the Press on its research and development efforts. During the last several years he served in governance of the Society for Personality Assessment, first as Treasurer, where he led the effort to modernize the organization's finances, and later as President. John’s contribution through his service leaves SPA in position to continue serving as a vital resource for personality assessment.

John was a warm and generous man who possessed an incisive intellect and a quick wit. John will be missed by his family, students, colleagues and the entire SPA community who he considered his friends.

- Paul Arbisi & Yossef Ben-Porath

A celebration of John's life will be held on Tuesday, November 14th 2023 at 11:00 AM at the University of Tulsa - Sharp Chapel (800 S Tucker Dr, Tulsa, OK 74104)