In the fall of 1977 Patricia Beatty, associate professor
of psychology at NDSU, was hospitalized due to complications from multiple sclerosis. Not to be deterred,
Beatty taught classes at the hospital. She held class in a seminar room there because that's
what she was, a professor, says Verlin Hinsz, professor of psychology, an NDSU undergraduate at the
time. It wasn't her job, it was her calling.
I can still see her sitting in the old Festival Hall teaching a class with about 300 students, said Sharon Berry, BS-75, MS-83, psychology manager and director of training at Children's Hospitals and Clinics, Minneapolis. She opened up the field of psychology so it was memorable, interesting and creative.
Beatty, who joined NDSU in 1969, retired in 1977 due to her illness, but maintained close ties to the Department of Psychology, serving on graduate committees, attending Friday colloquia and hosting social gatherings.
She also became a force for the rights of the disabled in North Dakota. She was instrumental in the passage of a 1980 Fargo city ordinance for more vigorous enforcement of handicap parking laws. In 1981, the mayors of Fargo and Moorhead chose Beatty as the local liaison for the United Nations International Year for Disabled Persons. During the 1983 North Dakota legislative session, a bill was introduced at her urging that allowed canine companions of persons with physical disabilities to enter public places.
She did so many things throughout her life, and they weren't for her, always for the benefit of others, says Hinsz. Although she was an activist, that wasn't how she saw herself, but rather as someone who did things to make the world better for others. In 1998 psychology faculty donated funds for a tile in Beatty's honor on the Walk of Pride, and she selected the words inscribed there herself: Role Model. Beatty died Dec. 20, 1998, at the age of 58, having never seen the tile that has become her campus memorial.