Communication Disorders to honor former faculty member for $100K contribution

Kathryn Chezik, former chair and longtime faculty member in Marshall University’s Department of Communication Disorders, will be honored in a donor recognition ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Smith Hall Birke Art Gallery on Marshall’s Huntington campus.

After 40 years of service to the university, Chezik contributed $100,000 to the communication disorders program with the majority of her donation earmarked for the Speech and Hearing Center’s adult neurogenics program, according to Kelly Rutherford, an assistant professor in the department.

"Kathy’s contribution is remarkable because it demonstrates her belief in the work she did with our clinic over the many decades she served Marshall University. Her gift will allow for better resources and opportunities for the clients we serve now and for years to come," Rutherford said. "The public often thinks about a university as the education of students, but the legacy Kathy has created illustrates her belief in community outreach and the active role our university has in the Tri-State area."

Rutherford said it is important for other potential donors to recognize Marshall University’s far reaching arm in bettering the region.

"These monies will be used to help fund community reintegration activities for our clients, fund supplies for advancement in education, and many other potential endeavors to better serve those with acquired communication disorders in our region," Rutherford said. "This is one more example of how together we can accomplish great things."

During this donor recognition event, attendees will have the opportunity to see a beautiful art exhibit by the late Dick Langham – a stroke survivor with aphasia who learned to paint with his non-dominant hand. Langham was a longtime member of Marshall University’s aphasia group who touched the lives of dozens of students and other stroke survivors throughout his life.

"In addition to recognizing Kathy for her contribution to our aphasia group, she will read an essay written by Katie Damron. Katie is one of our first-year graduate students who wrote about her personal experience with aphasia when her father had a stroke," Rutherford said. "In some way or another, Kathy has touched the lives of many and we want to take this time to thank her for everything she’s done and continues to do."

The donor recognition ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with remarks by Rutherford, Ron Area of the Marshall University Foundation and Dr. Karen McNealy, chair of the department. A reception will follow the ceremony with light refreshments served in Smith Hall, room 311.

To learn more about the ceremony, contact Rutherford at 304-696-2982. For more information on the programs and services within the Department of Communication Disorders and their Speech and Hearing Clinic, visit