1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Frazier

Senate Resolution 63

(As Adopted by Senate)


WHEREAS, speech-language pathologists are the professionals who identify, assess and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders; and

WHEREAS, the majority of children in Mississippi's public schools are African-American, and the majority of children receiving special education services are African-American; and

WHEREAS, speech-language is one of the areas in special education and represents one of the areas where there are large numbers of children being served; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harry Seymour currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Communications Disorders at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Charlena Seymour is currently the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, when Dr. Charlena Seymour was in high school, she noticed that all the leaders and successful people were really good speakers, and devoted her Saturdays to attending a half-hour speech lesson; the trip from Roxbury to Cambridge Square took two hours each way, and required her to take two buses and a train to get there and again to get back; and

WHEREAS, the woman who taught Seymour was African American and trained as a speech-language pathologist and was Seymour's role model; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Charlena Seymour received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from the School of Communication At Howard University; was awarded Honors from the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association for her work with students, particularly in the area of ethics, as well as Honors from the Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association; and

WHEREAS, she was honored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations in November, 1997, for her notable contributions and leadership in the field of communications; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Charlena Seymour is the past president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which has over 90,000 members, having served as president in 1997; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Charlena Seymour is a national lecturer, author and researcher in the area of fluency (stuttering) and works with African-American children; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harry Seymour's life work has been one of personal and professional commitment to multiculturalism, having defined the area of multicultural language development and assessment for African-American children; and

WHEREAS, he has promoted a national leadership graduate training curriculum and model for graduate students of color that is heralded as one of the best in the country; and

WHEREAS, he has trained and mentored over 60 graduate students of color, many of whom are now national leaders in the field and are mentoring other students, has obtained over $2,000,000 in funding to support students, and has secured research funds from national agencies which currently support as many as 21 students and professionals working on issues pertaining to African-American English; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harry Seymour has instituted outreach programs for the assessment of speech and language of minority children while disseminating these programs through publications, chapters, grants and national seminars; and

WHEREAS, he was the recipient of the Award for Recognition for Special Contributions in Multicultural Affairs from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in November, 1997, in Boston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harry Seymour has just received a $2,700,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a speech and language test specifically for African-American children, and is currently in Mississippi to pilot some of his work using children in Mississippi in the standardization sample during test development; and

WHEREAS, he has been to Jackson for three major conferences to present the latest research on speech and language testing for African-American children, and comes on an annual basis to lecture, mentor and work with students at Jackson State University; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Charlena Seymour has been to Jackson to three national conferences as the keynote presenter and is returning to Jackson to be the keynote speaker for the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association's annual convention; and

WHEREAS, because there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists, especially minority professionals, in Mississippi, particularly in the public school systems, it has been most meaningful to have the Seymours serve as role models for the African-American students:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE, That we do hereby commend Dr. Harry Seymour and Dr. Charlena Seymour for their untiring dedication to their work in speech and language disorders, and also for their contributions to higher education; we praise them for their unequivocal commitment to excellence and extend the thanks of a grateful state to both for their willingness to expend their time, talents and education on the citizens of Mississippi, as they have done so unstintingly.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be presented to Drs. Charlena and Harry Seymour, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.