Ten questions: Retired psychologist likes to surf, play tennis


Dr. Kenneth Haygood is a San Diego native and alumnus of La Jolla High School. After a hitch with the Airborne in Japan, he attended San Diego State, then earned his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.

His career took two paths. The first one was academic in the field of university continuing education, for which he has been nominated to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. His second career was as a management psychologist specializing in working with presidents and CEOs in the U.S. and internationally.

He is a “pioneer surfer,” having learned at Windansea in the 1940s. Currently, he surfs Tourmaline. Tennis, swimming, yoga and serving as a crisis interventionist with the San Diego Police Department keep him active.

Haygood lives in Windemere with Noreen, his wife of 56 years. He has two daughters, a son and six grandchildren.

What brought you to La Jolla?

Growing up in a single-parent family during the Depression resulted in moving eight times around San Diego. With World War II, a new father and income from defense work, we finally “settled down” in a new house at 715 Arenas St., adjacent to LJHS.

What makes La Jolla special to you?

While “growing up” in La Jolla, the ocean was my playground. LJHS - a terrific school - prepared me with the tools to build a career and family. While “growing down” in retirement, the ocean and surrounding beauty provide solace while the atmosphere of the Village of La Jolla remains friendly and with great memories.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would add parkway beautification to enhance the experience of new visitors and calm the nerves of commuters. I would subtract the cross on Mount Soledad and replace it with the United States flag.

I have a plaque with six service members of my family at the memorial, and a flag would honor them all. I would improve our clout with the city of San Diego by having local organizations agree on priorities and work together to get the city to meet La Jolla’s needs.

Who or what inspires you?

People like Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III who, without fanfare or hope of recognition, do their jobs and greatly exceed our expectations.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would have four main guests. Duke Kahanamoku, who brought surfing to the United States; Woody Ekstrom, our local surf historian and longtime surfin’ pal; Woody Brown of Hawaii, for living the “Aloha Spirit”; and Don Oakey, who taught me to surf - and a couple of other vices. The other guests would be four young La Jolla surfers having the opportunity to learn from my other guests how to live a life of sharing nature’s bounty while also becoming one with the sea.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Paul Krugman’s new “The Return of Depression Economics.” I’ve experienced two depressions and want to avoid another. Also, David Halberstams’ “The Coldest Winter,” which is his exhaustive history of the Korean War.

What is your most prized possession?

Photographs, representing a chronicle of the family’s history, and a record of friends old and new. I especially prize Andy Rice’s stunning images of this area of the world.

What do you do for fun?

Tennis, swimming, surfing and yoga.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I do not rank accomplishments in my life. The ones that give me great satisfaction are having raised a family, of which I am very proud, and having a career that provided the opportunity for many experiences of value to myself and, hopefully, to others.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Don’t let nature take its course. It’s indifferent to the individual. Learn all you can about nature so you can work with it.