Hayden Donahue

Class of
Hayden Donahue

Hayden Donahue

“The things that I have done that have pleased me most have been such things as the elimination of the bars from the buildings, the elimination of the cages that were used for seclusion…the treatment and rehabilitation of thousands of patients that were listed as incurable…”
Dr. Hayden Donahue, 1968


Dr. Hayden Donahue was born in El Reno, Oklahoma, and received his degrees at the University of South Dakota and the University of Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1941. He was an instructor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Georgia School of Medicine in 1942 and returned to Oklahoma as the Director of Mental Health in 1953. He served as superintendent at Central State Hospital in Norman, among other mental health assignments in Oklahoma, before returning to the position of State Mental Health Director. He was a psychology instructor at Oklahoma State University (1958-1959) and served as associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine (1958-1967). He is most credited as the principal force in and across the United States, “revolutionizing the treatment of mental illness in Oklahoma.”

Fun fact

Dr. Hayden Donahue was given the fountain pen used by Oklahoma Governor Johnston Murray to sign the 1952 bill modernizing the state Department of Mental Health, and the ballpoint pen used by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson to sign the bill that established funding for community mental health centers.

Oklahoma connections

Donahue was born in El Reno, Oklahoma.




Mental Health





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