Living with a disability can be frustrating, confusing and challenging. Dyslexia is just one of the many different types of learning disabilities students live with and overcome every day. Eugene Embry, 79, a 1958 animal science graduate, and his The Eugene Embry Scholarship honors Eugene Embry, shown with his late wife, Carol. He struggled with dyslexia all his life but didn’t realize it until his grandson, Eric Humphreys, was diagnosed with it as a child. Embry became an avid supporter of specialized education for students with learning disabilities.
family have learned to conquer dyslexia. Growing up hardly able to spell his own name, Embry struggled in school. After his fi rst year of studies at OSU, he was drafted into the Korean War because it was difficult to keep his grades up. Embry says he wasn’t excited about being drafted, but it was important to him to serve his country and it gave him time to mature.
Students with learning disabilities can excel thanks to OSU’s Student Disability Services and the generosity of a family affected by dyslexia.
“I believe people living with disabilities need time to grow up and get focused before attempting college,” Embry says. “I needed to have the right mind set to succeed.” After two years of military service, Embry returned to OSU and surpassed even his own expectations by taking 20 hours a semester and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
He even tutored football players in math several times a week, but his own school work continued to be difficult and time consuming. “After class I would go straight home and spend a lot of time rewriting my notes so I could actually understand them,” Embry says. Dyslexia is a hereditary developmental disorder that hinders the ability to learn to read and write. Dyslexics usually have a high IQ and tend to be auditory learners. When Embry’s grandson, Eric Humphreys, was diagnosed with dyslexia, Embry realized he had the same condition even though he’d never been formally diagnosed. Embry’s daughter, Claudia Humphreys, and her husband, Gary, have endowed a $100,000 scholarship for OSU students with dyslexia who are interested in agricultural studies. The gift qualified for the Pickens’ match, bringing the total to $300,000. At Christmas, they presented the Eugene Embry Scholarship, signed by OSU President Burns Hargis, to Embry along with a photo of the dairy farm where Embry worked for many years. “He thought we had just given him a picture of the dairy barn,” Claudia says. “It took him about three days to realize we had also created this scholarship.” The Humphreys, both agricultural economics alumni and owners of Able Tire Company, are thrilled to support OSU students facing the same challenges as their family members. Their son, Eric, is studying landscape architecture at OSU and doing well with support from Student Disability Services, which offers accommodations such as extended exam time, access to
lecture notes, books on tape and assistance taking exams or with reading and writing. “When we fi rst brought Eric to OSU, Student Disability Services sat us down and made Eric realize he is in charge of his learning disability,” Claudia says. “Eric has received a tremendous amount of help from them. They’ve done a great job watching over him.” Student Disability Services assists about 550 students a year and helps students surpass their disabilities and succeed academically. “The difference between ability and achievement is how disabilities are diagnosed,” says Mike Shuttic, coordinator of Student Disability Services. “We look at what type of disability the student has and then decide which accommodations are appropriate. “The key to success is for students to realize their potential,” Shuttic says. “Students need to think of us as their safety net and let us provide the appropriate assistance and support for their specific disability so they can pursue their education.”
Eric Humphreys, a landscape architecture major, was diagnosed with dyslexia in fifth grade, but he excels academically at OSU with support from Student Disability Services.
B R I T TA N I E D O U G L A S
STATE Magazine article written about dyslexia