The Minnesota Psychological Association was founded in 1936 by University of Minnesota psychology professors E.G. Williamson, Donald G. Paterson and others from the psychology departments of Macalester College, Hamline University, Augsburg College and St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges. The purpose was to establish an identity organization which psychologists could join and discuss common concerns and to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of research outcomes and teaching practices. The organizational structure was relatively informal, governed by an Executive Council (now called the Governing Council) with, initially, an Executive Secretary as the presiding officer. Eventually the Executive Secretary became the Executive Officer, which title remained for many years until more conventional organizational labels were adopted.

By the middle 1950s, following the 1947 Boulder conference on the scientist-practitioner model, the association began to gradually move away from an academic orientation. A lobbying effort eventually yielded legislation establishing Certified and Certified Consulting Psychologist labels. By the latter 1960s, the limitations of that legislation were increasingly recognized and MPA established a formal lobbying effort to enact licensure. After initial failure, enabling legislation was passed in 1973 establishing a state board of psychology and Licensed and Licensed Consulting Psychologist designations with formal implementation taking place on April 1,1975. MPA since then has shifted its primary focus to the practice of psychology, but still retains a strong focus on research and evidence-based practice.

Concurrent with the shift to applied practice has come the need for professional management of the association. In earlier years it was not uncommon for Executive Officers and other members of the Executive Council to remain in office for several years, supplying continuity and stability. Dr. Sam C. Scher holds the all-time record for Executive Officer of 19 years; Dr. Roland M. Peek was second at 13 years. It was not uncommon for members of the Executive Council to remain for a decade. Now the continuity and structure comes from the organization rather than individual people. MPA remains the most significant lobbying influence for Minnesota psychologists in the state legislature, and works with the Minnesota Board of Psychology to further the interests of psychologists in Minnesota. MPA is represented nationally at American Psychological Association meetings and committees.

MPA Past Presidents

2023: Sharon Stein McNamara
2022: Yasmine Moideen
2021: Jordan Robinson
2020: Willie Garrett
2019: Susan McPherson
2018: Bruce Bobbitt
2017: Steven Girardeau
2016: Robin McLeod
2015: Scott Palmer
2014: Steven Vincent
2013: Tabitha Grier-Reed
2012: Dan Christensen
2011: Joy Piccolino
2010: Rebecca Hage Thomley
2009: Harriett Copher Haynes
2008: Michael Brunner
2007: Mark Miller
2006: BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya
2005: Patricia Stark
2004: Elizabeth Super
2003: Kack Rossmann
2002: Myra Barrett
2001: Judith Steller
2000: Duane G. Ollendick
1999: Steve P. Gilbert
1998: Jack O’Regan
1997: Kathy Harowski
1996: Marge Charmoli
1992-1995: Seymour Z. Gross
1989-1991: Susan T. Rydell
1985-1988: Dennis O. Andersen
1982-1984: Barbara Dorset
1979-1981: Dorothy Loeffler
1977-1978: Alan H. Roberts
1975-1976: A. Jack Hafner
1973-1974: Wendell M. Swenson
1970-1972: Sam C. Scher
1969: Evelyn N. Deno
1963-1968: Roland M. Peek
1961-1962: Howard R. Davis
1956-1960: William Schofield

1951-1955: William M. Hales
1948-1950: Ralph F. Berdie
1945-1947: Lindsey R. Harmon
1944: Ruth Meyer
1943: Cornelia Williams, Marcia Edwards, Ruth Meyer
1942: Cornelia T. Williams
1941: John G. Darley
1940: E.G. Williamson
1939: Alfred R. Root
1938: Donald G. Paterson
1936-1937: Fred Kuhlman