$10 Million Gift Will Transform Baylor’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
- The Baylor Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic is a community-based clinic that has served the local community for more than 40 years. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
- The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has a long and notable history of educational and therapy service to the community. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
- One of CSD's programs, Camp Success, is a free intensive literacy and language program for children diagnosed with language and reading disorders. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
WACO, Texas (July 22, 2015) – Baylor University today announced a gift of $10 million to the department of communication sciences and disorders that will transform its students’ educational experience, expand its service to those with speech-language needs in Texas and position the department for national impact as a leader in the field of speech language pathology.
Made by Baylor alumni who wish to remain anonymous, the transformational gift will be used to enhance leadership, program and faculty development; extend funding for research, collaborations and community engagement; and significantly expand the capacity of the graduate program.
“Through this truly transformational gift, these generous and forward-looking champions of Baylor have given the department of communication sciences and disorders the means to realize many long-held dreams,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “While these remarkable alumni have chosen to remain anonymous, the power of their gift will be well known and appreciated throughout the State of Texas and the nation as the department grows in stature and its graduates go out into the world to provide exceptional professional service to those in need.”
For more than a half-century, Baylor’s department of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) has lived out the institution’s mission through the teaching and scholarship of its faculty and the careers of its alumni. As a component of Baylor’s newly formed Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, the department encompasses the areas of speech language pathology, audiology and deaf education and has graduated more than 1,200 speech-language pathologists who provide treatments to more than 60,000 speech-, language- and hearing-disabled children and adults every week in America. The department’s faculty members are expert clinicians who blend a wealth of academic expertise and more than 200 years of combined professional and clinical experiences in such settings as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities and public schools.
The $10 million gift will fund a wide variety of growth-oriented initiatives within the department, including the creation of an endowed chair that will enable Baylor to attract a prominent scholar and visionary to direct the program’s growth. An endowed fund also has been established for the department, providing the capacity to expand its graduate program — a major goal of the department — by modernizing clinical facilities, creating new faculty positions and upgrading technology.
The gift’s most immediate and visible effect will be the relocation of the department of communication sciences and disorders from Neill Morris Hall to the Cashion Academic Building, which will be renovated for the program’s needs. Approximately 18,000 square feet on the building’s first floor will provide space for clinical work, while classroom and lab space will be made available on another floor. Faculty offices located in the adjoining Hankamer Building, formerly home to the business school, will afford greater opportunity for collaboration among faculty members and easy access to students.
“There is very high demand for skilled healthcare professionals with expertise in communication sciences and disorders. The need for superior research and scholarship in disorders of the ear and brain that impact speech, understanding and hearing has never been greater,” said Edwin Trevathan, M.D., M.P.H., executive vice president and provost. “Baylor’s department of communication sciences and disorders exemplifies Baylor’s Christian commitment to preparing the next generation of healthcare leaders, serving those who are in need and creating new knowledge that benefits humanity. For our students and alumni, life as a healthcare professional in communication sciences is a wonderful way to serve.”
On the local level, the Baylor Speech and Hearing Clinic, a professional clinical division of the department, provides more than 10,000 hours of community service each year to speech-language and hearing-impaired children and adults of all ages. All clinical faculty members are certified by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and are licensed by the State of Texas, and they provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment for a wide range of communication disorders. The clinic’s new location in Cashion will provide more functional space and easy public access for visiting clinic guests.
The department recently concluded its annual Camp Success, a free intensive literacy and language program for children diagnosed with language and reading disorders. Since 2003 and with generous funding assistance provided by the Scottish Rite, Baylor students and faculty members have provided this four-week program to approximately 1,000 Camp Success participants who receive 50 hours of one-on-one therapy – equivalent to a full year’s worth of work in many school districts. Participants generally see dramatic improvement due to the attention and guidance of Baylor undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The Baylor students, in return, receive outstanding experience as they prepare for full-time positions in the field.
“Camp Success is just one example of the potentially life-changing work our department provides to individuals both in the community surrounding Baylor and across the globe through the excellent work of our graduates,” said Michaela Ritter, Ed.D., interim chair and associate professor of communications sciences and disorders. “This $10 million gift will allow the department to make an even greater difference in the lives of children and adults with communication disorders by supporting the daily efforts of our faculty to provide undergraduate and graduate students a comprehensive and intensive training program that incorporates the latest innovations and research, state-of-the-art technology and clinical experience in a wide variety of settings.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT THE ROBBINS COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES
The Baylor Board of Regents approved the creation of the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences on May 16, 2014, a direct result of identified priorities for strengthening the health sciences through Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris, which serves as a compass for the University’s future. The anchor academic units that form the new College – communication sciences and disorders, family and consumer sciences, health, human performance and recreation and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing – share a common purpose: improving health and the quality of life. The new College is working to create curricula that will promote a team-based approach to patient care and will establish interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information visit www.baylor.edu/chhs/.