Psychology professor Stanley Thomas Kordinak, Ph.D., died early Tuesday morning of a suspected heart attack. He was 70.
Kordinak began teaching at Sam Houston State University in spring 1970, instructing courses like psychometrics theory, personality assessment, behavior therapy, statistics, industrial and organizational psychology, and has since gained tenure-status.
“He never shied away from taking on the really difficult challenges in the department,” Christopher Wilson, Ph.D., philosophy and psychology department chair said. “The hardest courses—the ones that nobody wanted to teach, he jumped in and did it. He just loved doing that and he did a really good job at teaching those courses.”
According to Ann Holder, director of library services who knew Kordinak for the last 35 years, Kordinak was very involved with the community having coached soccer, served as a scout master and PTA president, elected to the Walker County Hospital District and worked to establish Tri County Mental Health Mental Retardation Services.
“Dr. Kordinak has been described as complicated but I think he will be remembered as a teacher who wanted his students to learn and grow, expand their horizons,” Holder said. “He pushed his students to work hard; his office door was always open to students. As a faculty member he was a great supporter of the library—early in his career at SHSU he identified material that was needed to support the program and he donated both books and journals to our collection. Dr. Kordinak was unique and will be missed.”
Wilson concurred with Holder in recognition of Kordinak’s devotion to his students.
“[He was] just a good guy, a really good guy,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen him spend hours and hours and hours with students. I think some students didn’t have an appreciation for him as much as they should have. If a student were in trouble and sought him out, he would spend hours with them just to make sure that they got what he thought was necessary and I think that’s a real asset of a good academician.”
According to Wilson, after teaching a class Monday, Kordinak collapsed in the Estill parking lot Monday afternoon at approximately 3:45 p.m. Three nursing students happened to be walking by and witnessed his collapse. The students began performing CPR on Kordinak and called an ambulance.
“From my understanding there were three nursing students walking past him when it happened so I mean, if you’re going to collapse with a heart attack, that’s the way to do it,” Wilson said.
Kordinak was rushed to Huntsville Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Conroe Regional Medical Center when he went into surgery and never regained consciousness. Doctors are still unsure as to the cause. However, a heart attack is the suspected culprit. Kordinak was pronounced dead at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
“He was really the second senior faculty member and had been here when most of the major developments in the department occurred and brought us into the 21st century,” Wilson said. “I would like him to be remembered as a dedicated professional who had extremely high standards and showed extreme rigor but through that, the students were better prepared than they would have been otherwise, I think that’s not unreasonable.”
Kordinak attended Iowa Wesleyan College and Drake University and earned a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.
Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.
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I am in his class this semester. He was a great teacher and really tried to make us understand what he was teaching... I was having a difficult time with family issues at the being on the semester and he always would ask me how I was doing and seemed to generally care. He will be missed. Rest in peace Doctor Kordinak