October 3, 2007

Speech and Audiology program celebrates
55 years of education, community service

Sacramento State’s Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology is marking its 55th year at the University with a little help from its faculty, staff, alumni and area businesses. The Department will celebrate the milestone 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Sacramento State Alumni Center.
           
The event, which is expected to draw around 300 participants including alumni, graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators, will feature recollections of past accomplishments and declarations of things to come, says speech Pathology and Audiology chair Laureen O’Hanlon. More than 40 area businesses have donated items, which will, in part, sponsor client scholarships for the Maryjane Rees Language, Speech and Hearing Center.
           
“The first courses in Speech Pathology and Audiology were offered in 1952 and the first clients were seen in 1954,” says O’Hanlon, “and we are the longest-running community service provider on campus.” Over the years, the center has evaluated and treated more than 10,000 individuals for speech, language and hearing concerns.
           
The Maryjane Rees Language, Speech and Hearing Center—named for Sacramento State professor emeritus and program pioneer Maryjane Rees—has provided services to the public for a wide variety of conditions. “The center has more variety of condition treatments than any other clinic in the state,” says O’Hanlon, and adds that they work with children and adults in need of speech therapy, autism, stuttering, accent modification and augmentative/alternative communication. Graduate students, working under close supervision of Speech Pathology and Audiology faculty, evaluate and treat speech and language problems.
           
And while the 55th anniversary event will focus on the accomplishments of the department and the center over the years, future goals will be heralded as well.
           
“We’ll be announcing a new alumni chapter for the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology,” says O’Hanlon. “We’re very excited to establish this chapter, which will strengthen our connection to our graduates.”
           
O’Hanlon also hopes to build the program in response to a national shortage of speech-language pathologists. “There are some challenges, but we’d like to grow our program to meet those needs,” she says.

For more information on the Maryjane Rees Language, Speech and Hearing Center and the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, call (916) 278-6601 or visit www.hhs.csus.edu/SPA. For media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.