Radford COSD Summer Rite camps peak with celebration of Scottish Rite philanthropy

Almost 150 children, family and members of the Roanoke-area Scottish Rite fraternity joined Radford students and faculty in the Davis College of Business and Economics on July 11, 2019 for a celebration in honor of the 2019 Summer Rite Care season of camps for children with communication challenges. 

As he has done for 16 of the 26 years during which Radford and the Scottish Rite have partnered to host the camps, Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Virginia James Cole presented a check for $33,000 to support the University’s continuing initiatives to help children develop and enhance communication and literacy skills.


Waldron College of Health and Human Services Dean Kenneth Cox, left, joined Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Virginia James Cole, second from right, and the 2019 Scottish Rite Clinical Scholarship recipients at the luncheon on July 11, 2019 which included the presentation of the Scottish Rite gift of $33,000 to Radford University and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Kenneth Cox, Au.D., dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services, acknowledged the critical partnership among Radford University, the Virginia Scottish Rite Foundation (VSRF) and the region’s 700 Scottish Rite members.

“Today, we celebrate a longstanding partnership that improves the lives of many people: clients, client families, Radford students and future speech language pathologists,” said Cox. “I am honored to acknowledge the kindness and goodwill of the Scottish Rite membership and the Virginia Scottish Rite Foundation.”

Cox noted that the VSRF has donated over $1 million to Radford and enhanced literacy and language skills of children in the New River Valley by helping prepare a generation of speech-language pathologists (SLP). Radford students who are preparing for SLP careers gain valuable hands-on experience working with the camps’ children and families who attend at no charge.

The 2019 Summer RiteCare© programs included:

  • The Preschool Language Lab;
  • The Language and Literacy Institute;
  • The Adventure Language and Literacy Camp; and
  • The Speech and Language Camp.

Five recipients of the 2019 Scottish Rite Clinical Scholarships were recognized at the luncheon as they reviewed the camp’s activities. The 2019 Class of Scottish Rite Clinical Scholars are:

  • Cameron Brown;
  • Hannah Brownmuller;
  • Emily Burd;
  • Shelby Lineberry; and
  • Emma Striano.

“This was a real-world experience, a crash course, that taught me the value of structure and flexibility,” said Striano, a second-year graduate student from New York’s Rockland County, as she reflected on her first work outside the traditional clinical setting.

“I really appreciate the passion for children of the Scottish Rite’s membership and how they have helped me expand my ability to enrich the lives of the children with whom I worked. I loved seeing the lights of discovery in their eyes,” Striano said.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COSD) Chair Diane Millar described the camps, attended by more than 100 children, as “an exhilarating intersection of people to create a state-of-the-art clinical program.”

Millar also lauded the more than 20 student clinicians who staffed the camps for five weeks for their “extraordinary dedication, creativity and energy.”

Richard DeSpain is a second-year graduate COSD student from Christiansburg, who hopes to work in a clinical setting to assist adults recover from strokes. The camp experience broadened his range and was a chance to use the skills and methods he has been studying in the classroom and clinic. 

"I can see now how the knowledge about our field overlaps and will help me work with clients with many different challenges,” DeSpain said. “I learned a lot from this experience and value the opportunity.”  

Dan Cleveland, whose two-year-old son Frazier was the youngest of the 15 children at the Preschool Literacy Lab, said, “The staff has worked with him and me to equip us with tools and exercises that we can practice at home, providing us a structure and path toward helping him vocalize more and use signs. It is wonderful to see his progress and confidence grow.”

Jul 18, 2019
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182