Eulogy for A/P John Michael Elliott (1945 – 2019)

It is not an exaggeration to say that NUS Psychology would not be where it is now without John Elliott.

In 1986, John joined the Psychology programme – not yet a department of its own then – to teach the very first cohort of Psychology students at NUS. He did a marvellous job then, and continued doing the same for more than 30 years before retiring in 2018.

As many will attest with no hesitation, John was an educator in every sense of the word – smart, sharp, passionate, inspiring, caring (the list can go on and on) – and most certainly left his mark on numerous cohorts of students. Many of his former students have taken the same path into academia, and his legacy for NUS Psychology remains in the form of many former students who are now faculty members in the very same department.

John was a true gentleman, who treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was also deeply principled and would always take responsibility for all that he was responsible for. Even in seemingly small matters such as signing off on an agreement, he would carefully comb the fine print to ensure that he could fulfil all the terms and conditions of the agreement, and would not hesitate not to sign it if he felt the terms and conditions were unfairly broad or too much in favour of the other party. In so many ways, John was integrity personified.

John was also a fine reader of people. He had an uncanny sense of being able to detect when someone was troubled, and he was always ready to be a listening ear and to lend a helping hand without ever being pushy. It is no wonder that so many held and will continue to hold him with the greatest respect.

So farewell, John. You will be fondly remembered.  Thank you for everything that you’ve done for the department.

Tributes to John Elliott can be shared at


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