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CHANGING THE WORLD What your investment in UT makes possible ADVANCING HEALTH


When Austin physician Robert Askew, BA ’50, Life Member, died last July at the age of 86, those who knew and admired him sought an enduring way to honor his distinguished life as a healer and a mentor. With the Dell Medical School on track to teach its first class in 2016, they didn’t have to look far. “There aren’t many ways to make a

a graduate of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, approached medicine as more of an art than a science. He was “the dean of Austin surgeons” for a long time, Heidrick says. “He took a lot of time with younger physicians to help them be as good as they could be.” The gift, among the largest the foundation has made, will help ensure that the medical school can hire a top-flight physician both to provide cancer care to Travis County residents and to educate and train the next generation of doctors. As the school takes shape, endowed chairs will be valuable tools in recruiting individuals of Askew’s caliber. “Part of our mission is to make Austin a model healthy city, so it’s wonderful that a man who did so much to keep this community healthy will be the namesake for one of our first faculty chairs,” says Clay Johnston, the medical school’s dean. “My father very much enjoyed the honor of being a physician,” says Robert

bigger difference for cancer care in Austin than to support oncology training at the Dell Medical School, and there aren’t many doctors who made a bigger difference for Austin patients than Bob Askew,” says Clarke Heidrick, chair of the board of the Shivers Cancer Foundation, which contributed $1 million to establish the Robert E. Askew, Sr., M.D. Chair in Oncology for Dell Medical School. Askew, a native of Ferris, Texas, and

Askew, Jr., BA ’82, Life Member, who also is a doctor. “He loved Austin, and he loved the University of Texas. He was so proud to see his university build a medical school on its campus. I cannot think of a more meaningful or loving gift to honor him, a gift that will mean so much to the university and our community.” Learn how you can support the Dell Medical School at

“It’s a crime that there are children and adults who stutter but cannot find or pay for effective treatment.”


A gift to the Moody College of Communication establishes a unique new resource to help those who stutter.


iming to fill a sizeable gap in

U.S. health care , a pair of donors

has helped establish the first nonprofit institute within a university setting devoted to stuttering intervention and research. It is also the only specialized research center in the nation to provide treatment

services free of charge to children and adults who stutter. Above: Lang Institute director Courtney Byrd participates in a UT summer camp where children who stutter are able to advance their communication skills in a fun and supportive environment. Opposite: Dr. Robert Askew is the namesake for the Dell Medical School’s first endowed chair in oncology. The school, seen here in a rendering, is set to open in 2016. CREDITS: Clockwise from above: Marc Speir (2); family photo; Page Architects

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The Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, made possible by a $3 million gift from San Diego’s Michael Lang, BBA ’67, JD ’70, Life Member, and his wife, Tami, offers advanced clinical training to undergraduate and graduate students and the latest research-based treatments to people from across the country. Individuals who stutter face a number of barriers to receiving treatment. Few insurers cover the cost of treatments, leaving clients and their families to pay out of pocket or forgo speech therapy entirely. Additionally, there is a nationwide shortage of clinicians qualified to treat stuttering. Although approximately 15 million children and 3 million adults in the U.S. stutter, as few as 1,250 clinicians—less than 1 percent of the total number of U.S. speech-language pathologists—

treat the condition. Courtney Byrd, Lang Institute executive director and associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, says the Langs’ gift ultimately will increase the number of speech-language pathologists who can effectively assess and treat people who stutter. The institute, she says, “will further promote our understanding and the public’s awareness of the complex, multifactorial nature of stuttering.” Those outcomes, Michael Lang says, are the guiding principles behind his donation. “To me, it’s a crime that there are children and adults who stutter but cannot find or pay for effective treatment,” he says. “In supporting the work of the institute, Tami and I dream that within 20 years there won’t be anyone in the U.S. who

cannot get free, competent help for stuttering.” The institute builds on the efforts of Byrd and Moody’s existing Jennifer and Emanuel Bodner Developmental Stuttering Laboratory, which has provided treatment to more than 450 clients and advanced clinical training to more 350 students since its founding in 2006. These numbers will increase substantially with the new funds. A recent review of 115 accredited undergraduate programs in speech-language pathology shows that 97 percent of them allow students to graduate with no academic or clinical exposure to stuttering. Moving forward, nearly all undergraduates in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will be educated and clinically trained in stuttering. Research will focus on the cognitive and linguistic development of children who stutter and on innovative assessment and intervention techniques, as well as interactive clinical training programs. Byrd is developing video games as treatment tools for children who stutter, Web tools for clients of all ages, and virtual reality training modules to help students enhance their clinical skills in working with clients who stutter. “This gift means that children won’t feel alone, and they’ll be given tools to build their confidence and skills,” says Courtney Alcott, whose daughter received treatment through the Bodner Lab. “It means that adults who weren’t given the opportunity as a child to address their stuttering will be able to improve their communication.” “We are tremendously grateful,” says Moody College Dean Roderick P. Hart, “for the generosity of Michael and Tami Lang and the tireless work of Dr. Byrd to establish this first-of-its-kind resource.” Learn more about the Lang Institute’s research opportunities and treatment services at

Changing the World is produced by the University Development Office. Please send your feedback and suggestions to editor Jamey Smith at jjsmith@austin.utexas. edu. For more news and information about giving to UT, visit

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Changing the World - Jan-Feb 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Jan/Feb 2015

Changing the World - Jan-Feb 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Jan/Feb 2015