Callier Center Marks 50 Years of Improving Speech, Language, Hearing
Feb. 14, 2014
A trust from Mrs. Lena Evans Callier created the Callier Hearing and Speech Center in 1963. Callier was a Dallas socialite who was affected by hearing loss.
The Callier Center for Communication Disorders is marking its 50th year helping children and adults with speech, language and hearing disorders connect with the world.
Founded in 1963 as the Callier Hearing and Speech Center through a trust created by Mrs. Lena Evans Callier, the center combined three previously existing entities: The Pilot Institute for Deaf Children, the Dallas Speech and Hearing Center, and the Dallas Council for the Deaf. Callier, the widow of successful Dallas businessman Edward Callier, was a thriving socialite in Dallas until hearing loss started to impact her daily life.
“I have in my own experience known the difficulties and complexities attendant to impairment in hearing, and in consequence I have come to believe that there could be no more fitting memorial than the creation of a trust,” Callier said in her will.
Upon her death in 1957, Callier left the majority of her estate as an endowment that would eventually lead to the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
“I have long been of the opinion that defects in hearing and deafness have seriously impaired or prevented persons … from leading lives which, were such handicaps eliminated or the effects thereof mitigated, would be of greater value not only to themselves but to their fellow man,” Callier said in her will.
Originally housed in the basement of the Dallas County hospital facility (Parkland Hospital), the center moved to its location on Inwood Road and began its first research program in 1969. The Callier Center for Communication Disorders officially joined with The University of Texas at Dallas and the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (then the School of Human Development) in 1975.
The cochlear implant program at Callier Center for Communication Disorders makes it possible for deaf children to enter a hearing world.
"The change that has occurred at Callier in the past 42 years that I have had the privilege of witnessing is comparable to how the Dallas skyline has changed — transitioning from what it was, to being a vibrant, dynamic and vital representation for Texas and the nation," said Dr. Ross Roeser, Howard B. and Lois C. Wolf Professor for Pediatric Hearing and one of the first faculty members at the Callier Center.
As part of UT Dallas, the Callier Center has grown its training program into one of the best in the nation, with its graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology ranked in the top four percent of U.S. programs according to a U.S. News & World Report survey. Offering four degree programs, including a doctor of audiology, Callier Center’s graduate program in speech-language pathology is the largest in the nation. The success of the educational program can be measured in the success of its students, with 90 percent of 2012 graduate students reporting employment after graduation.
“The founders of the Callier Center were true visionaries, recognizing that the integration of great research, cutting-edge professional training and clinical excellence was the best way to impact the lives of those with communication disorders,” said Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor. “From the first, they insisted on recruiting the strongest leaders in the field. The creation of this foundation in excellence is what enabled our academic programs to excel and attain international recognition.”
“The opportunity to expand our faculty and programs will allow Callier to continue to be an important educational and community resource for the next 50 years and beyond.”
Callier Center continues to support the community, with more than 48,000 clinical visits for 4,000 children and adults annually. The center offers evaluation and therapies in all areas affecting communication, including hearing impairment, language acquisition, child development and autism spectrum disorder. A large portion of the support for clinical services and training comes from donations to the Callier Care Fund.
In 2003, Callier Richardson was built adjacent to the UT Dallas campus to handle the increasing patient and educational load. Ten years later, Callier aims to expand again with a new 63,200 square-foot facility at Callier Richardson, renovations to the old buildings at both locations, and a new 7,000 square-foot Callier Autism Center at the Dallas location. The renovations and additions will dramatically increase the center’s educational, research and clinical capacities.
“The opportunity to expand our faculty and programs will allow Callier to continue to be an important educational and community resource for the next 50 years and beyond,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, Ludwig A. Michael, MD, Callier Center Executive Director and Sara T. Martineau Professor.