For those of us who can hear and speak flawlessly, it's hard to imagine life without these important senses. But with more than 6 million people in the United States suffering from some kind of language impairment, it's easy to understand the importance of an institution like the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas, one of the nation's most prestigious schools for audiology and speech-language-pathology programs.
At the second annual Callier Cares Luncheon at Dallas Country Club, Dr. Thomas Campbell, executive director of the center, thanked luncheon chair Barbara Stuart for her involvement with Callier before presenting the Callier Prize to Dr. Harvey Dillon for his leadership in scientific advances. As the director of research at the National Acoustic Laboratories in Sydney, Australia, Dillon has been influential in his research on hearing aids, design of hearing aids and the coordination of clinical service provision.
Dillon modestly approached the stage and said that he felt honored to be recognized by such great people who have dedicated their time to improving the field.
Then, Callier Foundation president Pam Busbee invited philanthropist Dr. Kenneth Altshuler to the podium to present Geraldine "Tincy" Miller with the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award. The honoree became passionate about helping children when her son was diagnosed with dislexia.
While guests lunched on hearty salads, their attention turned to an uplifting video presentation about Callier. But attendees — UT Dallas president David Daniel, Lynn McBee, Pam Perella, Lindalyn Adams, Sharon McCullough, Pat Schiff, Dee Wyly and Dian Moore — really began to understand the work Callier does when keynote speaker Michael Noble took the stage.
The young man spoke so much that no one would have guessed that he was born deaf if he hadn't told us. Noble was the the first patient in North Texas to receive cochlear implants.
He guided the audience through a slideshow of photos from his childhood and thanked his parents for taking a chance on the surgery. He proudly talked about his success at Southern Methodist University and his work today as marketing manager at Cochlear, the solutions company focused on helping people hear.
"I shattered all expectations," he said. "Callier is why I'm here today."