Glenda J. Ochsner, 2003 ASHA president, died May 29, 2014, at age 72.
An Oklahoma native, Glenda earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Oklahoma. A speech-language pathologist, she started her long career in academics at the University of North Texas (Denton) in 1968.
Glenda returned to Oklahoma in 1969 to accept a position in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the John W. Keys Speech and Hearing Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, where she taught for the next 25 years and served as department chair from 1987 to 1994. She then served as dean of health, social sciences and human behavior at Oklahoma City Community College (1994–1998). She began teaching in the Honors College in 1996 and the College of Liberal Studies in 2001 at the University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, and continued to serve both programs until her death.
Glenda received numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious David Ross Boyd Professorship, given to recognize teaching excellence at the University of Oklahoma. Her classes were widely sought by students on both the Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses.
Her teaching skills were not limited to the formal classroom. She served for more than a decade as coordinator of interdisciplinary diagnostic and treatment planning teams dealing with orofacial anomalies and language development on the Health Sciences Center campus, which have served as models for similar teams.
Despite demanding teaching and clinical service commitments, Glenda was active in research and in the training of student researchers. During her tenure at the university, she directed doctoral dissertations, numerous master’s theses and senior papers, and served on many planning and examining committees. In addition, she has mentored doctoral students who have participated with her in ongoing research projects, many of which have been grant-supported.
A consummate professional, Glenda served on major committees and boards relating to training and provision of services to people with communication disorders at both the federal and state levels. She was a leader in the profession, serving as president of the Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association and as president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2003. Her dedication to high standards is shown in her service as chair of the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Glenda’s ability to attract federal and private support for the department programs in communication sciences and disorders contributed materially to their rise in national standing, enabling the university to compete with other programs for high-quality students and provide access to emerging technology.
Throughout her long career, Glenda had a strong commitment to quality patient care. She gave her support to the first licensing law in speech-language pathology and audiology in Oklahoma. She was appointed to chair that board and was regarded as highly effective in her term. Glenda Ochsner’s expertise and dedication is a testament to the high quality of leadership she gave to the profession.
Glenda also was a strong supporter of the arts, so much so that she earned a second master’s degree in 2005 in theatre and museum management to become better equipped to serve her community. She expended much time and energy working with and providing financial backing to various fine arts and performing arts groups in Yukon, Okla.
Survivors include her mother, Mary Jane Ochsner; life partner, James G. Schmaelzle of Yukon, Okla.; adopted son, Ryan B. Tigner of Yukon, Okla.; cousins; and a host of colleagues and friends.
James G. Schmaelzle, MCD, CCC-A is an audiologist in Yukon, Okla.
“In Appreciation” is an occasional ASHASphere feature highlighting the lives and accomplishments of leaders in communication sciences and disorders.