Remembering Prof. Dan Bellack

Dr. Dan Bellack

The life of Dan Bellack, Ph.D., a visiting professor with The Citadel Graduate College for 20 years, will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, with a gathering of the Trident Technical College community in Building 920. All are welcome.

Dr. Bellack served as department head of behavioral and social sciences at Trident Technical College for more than 20 years and also taught at the College of Charleston, in addition to teaching master’s level courses through the Department of Psychology at The Citadel.

One of Dr. Bellack’s colleagues and friends at The Citadel, Steve Nida, Ph.D., offered these reflections:

Dan Bellack had been teaching at The Citadel for several years when I arrived as psychology’s new department head in the fall of 2002. Dan quickly became a good friend, and we remained close until his untimely passing.

Dan was bright, loyal, and witty. He was a kind soul who genuinely cared about his students, and I don’t know that I have ever encountered anyone who loved teaching as much as Dan did; furthermore, he was good at it — truly a master teacher.

Throughout most of the time that I knew Dan, he was serving as chair of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Division at Trident Tech. Most department chairs seek to minimize their teaching obligations simply because the administrative duties occupy so much of one’s time, yet Dan — without fail — was always willing to step in and help us out whenever and wherever we needed him (even though he always had a full slate of teaching responsibilities at Trident). That was because, as I have noted, he just loved the classroom. Dan primarily taught developmental psychology to Citadel graduate students, and he had recently been one of the authors of a successful textbook in that area.

Although Dan was an accomplished psychologist, everyone who knew him thinks of him first as someone who was, very simply, a great guy. His gentle manner, quiet competence, and sharp sense of humor will be missed. Dan’s death is a real loss for The Citadel, for Trident, and for the field of psychology.

Dr. Bellack’s obituary:

Daniel Robert Bellack, 73, left this life on Thursday March 14, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife Yongmei, in-laws Maoyin Wang and Min Fang, sons Jason (Danielle) and Braden (Kelly), sister Sandi Bellack (Vido Chavez), three grandchildren (Liam, who had an especially close relationship with his PopPop, and twins Nathaniel and Amelia), his former wife (Jan), and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, William “Billy” and Terri Bellack.

Dan was born on January 15, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, but spent most of his childhood in Miami, Florida. He attended the University of Miami, and received bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist degrees from the University of Florida, where he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Dan moved to Virginia in 1973 and worked as a college counselor. He and his family then moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he attended the University of Kentucky and earned his PhD in cognitive developmental psychology. While there, he became an avid lifetime Kentucky Wildcats fan.

Dan devoted his career to being in the classroom with students. He served on the faculty and as department head of behavioral and social sciences at Lexington (KY) Technical College. Upon relocating to Charleston in 1988, he served as visiting professor of psychology at the College of Charleston, and in 1992 joined the faculty at Trident Technical College, where he also served as department head of behavioral and social sciences for more than 20 years. He continued to teach there until his death. He also served as visiting professor of psychology at the Citadel Graduate College for more than 20 years.

Co-author of a psychology textbook, Visualizing the Lifespan (Wiley, 2015), Dan was an invited regular presenter at the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology. He was a member of the American Psychological Association and the South Carolina Psychological Association, and a Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. His research focused on pedagogy in the classroom and critical thinking. He served as a reviewer and consultant to publishers for numerous introductory and developmental psychology textbooks. Notably, he presented at TEDx-Charleston in April 2018.

Dan was a great teacher, beloved by thousands of students whose lives he touched. He also was an avid musician and accomplished trumpet player. An inaugural member of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, he played with the Charleston Community Band for more than 20 years, and in many concerts, theater, and social events over the years.

Known best for his wit and sarcastic humor, Dan brought smiles to the faces of his family, friends, students, coworkers, and even strangers he met in passing. He often used his gift of humor to create welcoming learning environments for his students and to alleviate tense moments of discussion with friends and family alike. His gift for making others laugh will be greatly missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him. Funeral services will be private.

A celebration of Dan’s life will be held on Sunday, March 24th at 3:00 pm with a gathering of the Trident Technical College community, Building 920. In lieu of flowers (no flowers, please), donations may be made to the Daniel R. Bellack Memorial Scholarship at Trident Technical College Foundation, PO Box 61227, Charleston SC 29419-1227 to honor Dan’s life and legacy in perpetuity. Every dollar donated will be matched by an anonymous donor. Visit our guestbook at charleston