The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 21, No.1, Winter 2004

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The Foundation has awarded nearly $800,000 to students to pursue their academic aspirations in communication disorders.

The lasting legacy of Edwin H. Eddy is a foundation for the treatment of communication disorders, which is now in its 22nd year at UMD. Edwin Eddy, born in 1906, grew up in Duluth as the only child of a prestigious family - and he stuttered. Unfortunately, his stuttering affected his relationships with people. As a child and throughout his adult life, he was a quiet, shy individual with few relationships beyond that with his parents. Reports from people who knew him indicate that he rarely engaged in conversations. When he died in 1981, he was not married, and had no children or other survivors. That could have been the end of his life story.

Fortunately, it was not.

Despite leading a private life, he apparently spent considerable time pondering how to have a positive impact in other ways. When he died, his will established a foundation to be used to help people with communication disorders, such as stuttering. The Edwin H. Eddy Family Foundation was established in 1982 at the First National Bank (Wells Fargo) with initial funding of $1.6 million. The designated purpose of the trust was for research, education, and treatment in communication disorders. Some of the money has been designated for scholarships for students specializing in the field of communication disorders.

The financial support of the Edwin Eddy Foundation has had an enormous impact on the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the UMD College of Education and Human Service Professions. Since the first year of awarding scholarships in 1982-83 to undergraduate and graduate students in the department who maintain a prerequisite grade point average, the Foundation has awarded nearly $800,000 to students to pursue their academic aspirations in communication disorders. Student recipients frequently express their gratefulness to the Foundation in letters of thanks. In 1995, an additional scholarship was funded by the Eddy Foundation to recognize one outstanding graduate student, and is used to attract top-caliber students to the graduate program. The impact of these scholarship awards is far-reaching, especially when one considers that at least three of the current clinical instructors in the department were Eddy Scholarship recipients themselves when they were students in the department, and now have the opportunity to impact student learning as instructors.

A lecture series devoted to specific communication disorders topics has also been funded by the Edwin Eddy Foundation through the department, and attracts nationally and internationally known speakers three times per year to UMD, reaching an average audience of 75 – 100 speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and other related professionals.

The Foundation has also provided on-going financial support for the Robert F. Pierce Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, which is the clinical practicum unit of the department. Each year, the Foundation provides substantial fee assistance for approximately 30 individuals to access the diagnostic and treatment services of the clinic. These individuals frequently report that they would not have been able to receive the services without the assistance of the Edwin Eddy Foundation. Additionally, the Foundation provides significant funding to purchase updated materials and equipment to use in therapy and diagnostic sessions. It also provides support for special clinical programs such as Fluency Interact, a program for parents of children who stutter.

The funding from the Edwin Eddy Foundation has provided the basis for creating a regional clinic for speech-language-hearing disorders that has a reputation of providing high caliber services to approximately 80 clients per semester. Edwin Eddy interacted with minimally few people during his lifetime, but he found other ways to leave a positive legacy with incredible impact on hundreds of people upon his death. He may not have realized the far-reaching impact the Foundation would have when he established it, but one has the sense that he would be pleased with the outcome.

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