Baylor University Announces Naming of Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice
Gift from Bill and Mary Jo Robbins will expand Baylor’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic
WACO, Texas (Nov. 11, 2021) – Baylor University today announced the naming of the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice in honor of Mary Jo Robbins of Houston. The announcement is in recognition of the support and continued efforts of William K. “Bill” and Mary Jo Robbins, a couple who has spent their lifetimes championing excellence in health care.
The new Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice is part of a $2.5 million expansion within Baylor’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, which is part of the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. The expansion of the clinic was made possible through a gift from Bill in honor of Mary Jo. The Mary Jo Robbins Clinic will support individuals whose lives have been affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis (ASD).
“We are grateful for the generous support and truly incredible commitment of Bill and Mary Jo Robbins,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Their support at Baylor has truly been inspiring, and we are thankful for the many more families who will be impacted by this exciting expansion. Bill and Mary Jo continue to build bridges – between Baylor and our community and among the Baylor Family, linking resources with need and encouraging us all to excellence as we look to educate the next generation of health care leaders while also caring for the health and well-being of our community. We are truly grateful for their continued support.”
The Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice will be located on the second floor of the Cashion Academic Center as an expansion of the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. The expansion will create nearly 12,500 square feet of new and remodeled space, doubling the capacity for providing speech, language and other services to individuals with ASD. The Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic was moved to the Hankamer Cashion Academic Complex in 2016, following an anonymous gift of $10 million, and the newly announced expansion builds upon the momentum to propel Baylor forward as a leading institution in the nation in this field.
The Mary Jo Robbins Clinic will include interprofessional space for speech-language pathologists and audiologists to work with occupational therapists and other specialists in ASD, as well as space for eye-tracking research for early identification of ASD and early intervention research in general. The generous gift from Bill and Mary Jo Robbins will allow for an expanded feeding and swallowing clinic, a new inclusive preschool and toddler room, a new social thinking program clinic and a new ASD and Reading clinic. A portion of the gift also will be used on the second floor of the Hankamer Building to increase research space. In total, 13 research labs, sound booths and space for doctoral students will be created through this expansion.
The families and individuals who are part of the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism and Research and Practice will experience a welcoming, sensory-friendly environment in which families receive the support and resources of interest. Baylor students from several disciplines will be able to observe and pursue the interprofessional education and training that will help them in their futures as practitioners.
“Supporting excellence in health care is a calling for us both, and we are pleased that the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice will increase access to services for individuals with autism,” said Bill Robbins. “We believe that Baylor is an excellent resource for the ASD community, and this expansion will not only increase access to resources, but it will also help to increase research and scholarly efforts to develop new and exciting therapies and approaches to care.”
Bill and Mary Jo Robbins share a deep sense of commitment to Christian missions, education and health care. Mary Jo earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Texas in 1975. During her 27 years in the nursing profession, she opened and managed 10 dialysis facilities in Texas. After transitioning from the health care field, Mary Jo continues to put the same care and energy into the mission and vision of The Robbins Foundation.
Bill received his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Baylor University. He earned a Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School. He is founder and CEO of Houston-based North American Corp., which is engaged in consulting, finance, investments and oil and gas activities.
Bill and Mary Jo have supported important causes throughout the world, both personally and through The Robbins Foundation. The Robbins Foundation supports organizations in the United States, Canada, India and other countries, ranging from youth programs to post-secondary education programs, health care initiatives, the arts, entertainment, music and science.
In 2014, the Baylor Board of Regents voted to name the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences after Bill and Mary Jo Robbins in recognition of their generosity to the academic unit. Prior to that time, their leadership gift in 2011 established the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership in the Hankamer School of Business, supporting teaching, external programming and health services research. A gift to the MBA Healthcare Program in 2010 has helped to position Baylor and its students as internationally recognized leaders in the fields of health policy, research and education. In 2006, the Robbins provided the gift that supported construction of Robbins Chapel in Brooks Village, which provides students a place for everyday prayer, meditation and worship.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT ROBBINS COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University was established in 2014, a result of identified priorities for strengthening the health sciences through Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris, and the University’s Illuminate strategic plan. The anchor academic units that form Robbins College – Communication Sciences and Disorders; Human Sciences and Design; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and Division of Health Professions – share a common purpose: improving health and quality of life. The College’s curricula promotes a team-based approach to transformational education and research that has established interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information, visit baylor.edu/chhs.