Dr. Kenneth Altshuler was a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University when he was recruited to Dallas in 1977 to chair UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry. During his tenure, Dr. Altshuler took a small, fledgling department and built it into one of national stature, growing it from five full-time faculty members to over 100, recruiting outstanding researchers, and raising funds for ten named Chairs, two Research Centers and several Professorships. Currently, he is the Stanton Sharp Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Altshuler also served as President of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and as President of the American Association of Department Chairs of Psychiatry. While he has written over 150 papers and books in genetics, geriatrics, and sleep—to name a few, his greatest contribution has been his work with the deaf.
When he served at Columbia, his group pioneered research in the development of psychiatric services for persons with early profound deafness. The models he developed were incorporated into the service-delivery system of New York, and were copied in England, Denmark, Israel, Yugoslavia and Texas. Though he has received many awards, the one closest to his heart is the Honorary Doctorate of Science degree awarded for these achievements from Gallaudet, the College for the Deaf in Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Ruth Altshuler, a philanthropist, chairperson, board member, trustee and volunteer, has contributed a lifetime of service to countless organizations, councils, boards and, most importantly, to people in need. Mrs. Altshuler was the first woman to chair Southern Methodist University’s Board of Trustees. She received the prestigious Linz Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Junior League of Dallas and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Junior League International. Mrs. Altshuler is in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, and she is one of only three people in the nation to be a Lifetime Member of the Salvation Army National Advisory Board. Mrs. Altshuler also received United Way of America’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award. She is Vice Chairman of the Laura Bush Institute for Women, and President George W. Bush appointed her to the Library of Congress Trust. Finally, Mrs. Altshuler was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Ruth’s indelible character, high integrity, and compassionate heart shine as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the people of Dallas, Texas and beyond.
Distinguished and honorable citizens in their own right, Ruth and Ken Altshuler, together, are a philanthropic force who have given of themselves to the betterment of society.