MARSHALL — The Dean Foundation has given $500,000 to East Texas Baptist University to create the William B. Dean Center for Language and Literacy Development.

The Dean Center is part of an expansion of the university’s downtown Marshall campus learning center at the Marshall Grand for the new Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program and the enhancement of the Learning Support Services program.

“In honor of the late William B. Dean, noted pediatrician and pioneer in the field of learning challenges and dyslexia, and founder of the Dean Learning Center, East Texas Baptist University seeks to recognize and build upon Dr. Dean’s legacy as an esteemed medical leader and advocate for children with learning differences,” said ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn. “ETBU’s Dean Center for Language and Literacy Development will pay tribute to Dr. Dean’s influential impact in people’s lives through his pedagogical and technical innovations for the learning challenged and through his community service engagement and life contributions.”

The William B. Dean Center for Language and Literacy Development will be an approximately 4,000-square-foot learning space on the seventh floor of East Texas Baptist University’s Marshall Grand. The Dean Center will serve as a speech-language pathology academic center, community treatment clinic and a conduit for Learning Support Services, according to the university.

“My father would be very, very proud to support training and education at ETBU, as am I,” said David Dean, president of the Dean Foundation. “His life was about helping children be successful in learning. He would be humbled and excited to be involved with providing support services in the East Texas region and training skilled professionals to provide assistance.

“I can’t wait to see the dual purposes of the Dean Center for Language and Literacy Development engaging both ETBU students and regional community clients in learning and succeeding in school, college, graduate study, career and life.”

ETBU will host annual professional development, symposiums, seminars and workshops regarding challenges and opportunities that impact speech-language and literacy development.

“With the benevolent support of the Dean Foundation, $475,000 of the initial grant will underwrite the creation of the dedicated learning space for the Dean Center at the Marshall Grand,” Vice President for Advancement Scott Bryant said. “The additional $25,000 from the initial grant will be invested in the William B. Dean Center for Language and Literacy Development Endowed Fund for the advancement of the Dean Center for program promotion, speech-language pathology graduate student scholarships, maintenance of the Dean Center and annual Dean Center professional development programming.”

The Dean Center will include a clinic reception area, instructional classroom space, treatment clinic with a closed-circuit camera system and observation space and auditory assessment labs, allowing supervisors and faculty to monitor therapy sessions in real-time, according to the university.

The new academic space will include a small kitchen lab equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, cabinets, and sink to properly store and manipulate food for swallowing and feeding therapy. The build-out will also consist of a resource area for graduate program students, administrative leadership space and faculty offices.

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