Ralph Rudolph was the chairman of American Mensa from 1989 to 1991, and was elected again to the American Mensa Committee as the Regional Vice Chairman for region 6 in 2007. As chairman in 1991, he ran unsuccessfully for a second two-year term. In both of the elections in which he was a candidate for chairman, he made a point of running as a petition candidate rather than submitting his name to the Nominating Committee.
The series of political battles regarding Judy Dosse, a Regional Vice Chairman at the time, started during Rudolph's term in office, ultimately leading to the National Hearings Committee hearing charges against her for which Rudolph was one of the complainants.
Before he was chairman, Rudolph was 1st Vice Chairman, and while in this position in 1986 he prominently supported Lynne Parcells in her controversial publication of white-supremacist material in what became known as the "NOVA affair", saying that "The best way to deal with this sort of thing is to bring it out into the open and let the members judge." This put him in opposition to Rose Lee Crutcher and Harper Fowley, who were calling for actions to be taken against Parcells. Later he helped fund the independent publication The Insomniac edited by Parcells.
In an article in InterLoc #250 (Dec. 1992), Rudolph criticized the "Throw the Rascals Out" mentality (although this mentality perhaps contributed to his earlier election as a somewhat "anti-establishment" petition candidate), saying that, although "the AMC has made some expensive mistakes", electing entirely new and inexperienced people would probably cause worse results, as "electing Joe Q. LocSec, working as perhaps a teacher or programmer... is going to make him an instant expert on social dynamics or on efficiently running a corporation? With NO TRAINING? Bloody unlikely, my friend." He also raised the point that the demand on AMC members' time from answering member questions would eventually lead the new member to cut back on such communication in order to have a life, which would cause the members to criticize him for becoming one of the entrenched politicians who refuses to listen to the membership.
His 2007-09 term on the AMC ended early when he resigned his position, following conflicts with the rest of the body in which he was twice removed from the AMC mailing list for breaching its confidentiality, first for forwarding one of his own messages which fullquoted somebody else's message beneath his top-posted reply, then again for giving a fairly sketchy account of how Mensa counsel had supposedly opined against the legality of his first list expulsion.
Rudolph also came up with new ideas in other subjects, including his job in the steel industry. One of these ideas won him the Mensa Education and Research Foundation's Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement in 2000 for inventing a method of detecting water on steel during the manufacturing process.
Rudolph passed away on Wednesday, October 5, 2011.
Notes and references
- Letter from Ralph Rudolph to Lynne Parcells, March 27, 1986, printed as page 25 of packet of papers circulated by Parcells
- Mensa Foundation site
| Chairman of American Mensa