In 1971, Jim Klee joined the faculty of the newly-forming Humanistic Psychology program at the University of West Georgia. Owning greatly to his largesse d’esprit, the program burgeoned to its current prominence as a principal center for studies and research in Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology. Jim was named Professor of Psychology Emeritus upon his retirement from the University of West Georgia in 1987. Due to his contributions, the Psychology Program annually hosts the Jim Klee Forum Lecture, which features a current researcher in the field of psychology doing cutting-edge work.

Jim Klee earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Psychology at the University of Michigan. Much of his academic career was spent at Brandeis University and at the University of West Georgia. At Brandeis, he joined Abraham Maslow in establishing the first humanistic psychology program in the nation. There he also became colleagues with and influenced George Kelly and Ulric Neisser, two founders of the cognitive psychology movement.

Yet cognition was far too narrow and rigidly cast a vision for Klee himself. His great-plains-sized thinking simultaneously grounded humanistic psychology in existential-phenomenology while also stretching it to its own “outer reaches” in transpersonal psychology in its historical-temporal religious dimension. Jim typically explored the territory between categories. He navigated his sail ship of vision along the boundaries of words, concepts, and spheres of inquiry, between existing thoughts and disciplines, in a quest for openings to oceans of potential insight. His published collection, Points of departure: Aspects of the Tao, and his papers include such titles as “The Absolute and the Relative,” “India’s Mysterious Unity,” and “Omniscience, Time and Suchness.” In the interstices, in the “in between,” he found a consciousness-expanding nexus of dimensionality and unity that reveals points of continuity among seemingly unrelated understandings offered by such persons as Satre, Spence, Bergson, Skinner, Aristotle, Plato, Lao Tze, and the Hindu Mystics. 

For Jim, the continuity was recognized in the discontinuity, the paradoxical, the ironic, and the symbolic. He died in 1996.

The Jim Klee Forum Fund

The Jim Klee Forum Fund was established upon James B. Klee’s retirement from the Psychology Department at the University of West Georgia in 1987 as a token expression of appreciation for Jim’s monumental contributions to the personal and professional development of students and colleagues over a period of nearly two decades. The initial request for contributions was made to the faculty and alumni of the Psychology Department. 

In accordance with Jim Klee’s wishes, proceeds from that fund have been assigned to the establishment of the Jim Klee Forum.  Annually it brings a speaker of national or international renown to the university. Each forum features a major address by an invited speaker, along with dialogue among the speaker, discussants, and audience.

Funding for this forum series depends on contributions to the Jim Klee Forum Fund. These contributions are tax deductible and should be directed to:
University of West Georgia Foundation, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118

Previous Presenters

  • Nev Jones - 2024
  • Saartje Tack - 2023
  • Michelle Fine - 2019
  • Sunil Bhatia - 2018
  • Lorraine Radtke and Hank Stam - 2017
  • Scott Churchill and Nadine Kaslow - 2016
  • Ian Parker - 2015
  • Brinton Lykes - 2014
  • Elisa Valazsquez-Andrade - 2013
  • Edward Tick - 2012
  • Fred Wertz - 2011