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School commemorates tenth Pepper Lecture

The School of Communication celebrated the tenth annual Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Lecture on April 16 with a special lecture by Edwin Rubel, Ph.D., the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Professor of Hearing Science at the University of Washington in Seattle and a former board president of the Northwestern University Hugh Knowles Center for Clinical and Basic Science in Hearing and Its Disorders.

The event recognized Roxelyn Pepper (C53) and Richard Pepper (McC53), longtime donors to the university who in 2005 made a gift to endow the School of Communication Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. In honor of the gift and their ongoing support of the university, the department was named for them.

Rubel spoke on the path from basic science to translational research to treatment, giving current examples from his own work as well referencing the work done by past Pepper Lecturers, all School of Communication faculty members in the Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Past speakers have included Nina Kraus, the Hugh Knowles Chair in Audiology; Cynthia Thompson, the Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor in Communication Science; professor Beverly Wright; Mario Ruggero, the Hugh Knowles Chair in Hearing Sciences; and, last year, professor Sumitrajit Dhar, now chair of the Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“We were fortunate to have one of the preeminent hearing scientists of our time, Professor Rubel, deliver the 10th Annual Pepper Lecture,” Dhar said. “In addition to the fascinating science that was presented, Professor Rubel’s talk highlighted the important discoveries in the speech and hearing sciences at the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders here at Northwestern University. It was invigorating to hear these clear connections between the past and present work in our department and how they have shaped the field.”

The event was held following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the School’s new Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning. The Peppers have been generous donors to the programs now housed in the new space.