Dr. Michael Sweda
"By giving, you help join past, present, and future in a way that is meaningful to those who came before, those you know, and those yet to come."
For UI alumnus Dr. Michael Sweda (1984 M.A., 1988 Ph.D.), connecting with Professor Jacob Sines in 1981 was a turning point in his graduate studies.
“I was thinking of leaving graduate school in psychology to become a lawyer,” says Sweda. “I can still remember the day he put his arm around my shoulder and said, ‘Young man, let’s talk about your future.’”
That conversation led to Dr. Sweda’s long and successful career in forensic psychology, and recently, a generous gift to the UI in memory of his trusted mentor.
Now a board-certified forensic psychologist with more than twenty-five years of professional experience, Sweda is currently the director and developer of the first and only postdoctoral training program in forensic psychology to gain accreditation through the American Psychological Association: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, located in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I have the great honor of being a civilian serving to train active duty Army psychologists in becoming forensic psychologists and in testifying in courts-martial across the country and throughout the world.”
He wanted to give back to the UI so that others could receive the outstanding education that helped him succeed. That’s why Dr. Sweda included a charitable bequest in his estate plans to establish the Jacob O. Sines Professorship in the UI Department of Psychology.
“Jake Sines is the reason I am a forensic psychologist today,” Sweda says. “He was a superb teacher who was beloved by students for his thought-provoking, engaging style of teaching.”
Because of Dr. Sweda’s visionary gift, generations of faculty—and their students—will benefit.
“I am reminded daily in my professional practice of the outstanding education I received,” says Sweda. “Iowa Psychology has a long history of excellence in research and dedication to training of their small group of select graduate students. I wanted to give back and help continue that tradition.”
His gift connects that tradition of excellence with the potential of the future.
“As Walt Whitman said, ‘past and present and future are not disjoined but joined,’” says Sweda. “By giving, you help join past, present, and future in a way that is meaningful to those who came before, those you know, and those yet to come.”