Alan S. Feldman, 1981–1982 ASHA president, died Jan. 23, at age 90 in North Potomac, Maryland.
Feldman, an audiologist, served in the U.S. Navy and earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD in audiology from Syracuse University. Feldman later ran the Communication Disorder Units at Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical Center. He then opened his own practice and promoted autonomy and private practice in audiology. He served in leadership roles for the New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the New York State Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and on several ASHA committees. Feldman, who received ASHA Honors, also served on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation’s Board of Trustees and received the ASHFoundation’s Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award.
Feldman made substantial contributions to audiology and hearing science as a scholar, a prolific writer, an educator and a leader.
The 1993 ASHA Committee on Honors declared that Feldman altered the course of audiology through his achievements. He worked tirelessly to change the ASHA Code of Ethics to permit audiologists to dispense hearing aids and was at the forefront of environmental hearing issues as an expert on the toxic effects of industrial noise. Feldman published widely on tympanometry and middle-ear measurements, co-authoring a seminal text with Laura Wilbur, “Acoustic Impedance and Admittance: The Measurement of Middle Ear Function.” His provocative presidential address in 1981, “The Challenge of Autonomy,” is often cited as a turning point in the debate around professional autonomy.
For the ASHFoundation, Feldman was a true difference-maker, through his Board volunteer contributions and as a masterful fundraiser. He donated the first Founders-level gift when Frank R. Kleffner (then the ASHFoundation president) set up the first formal giving program. The ASHFoundation honored Feldman in 2002 for his volunteer contributions and fundraising efforts, which included transforming his passion for golf into an ASHFoundation benefit event featuring LPGA players.
I fondly remember a story shared by Fred Bess, endowed chair and professor of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Feldman’s colleague, when Bess helped us honor Feldman in Atlanta. In Fred’s own words: “Alan Feldman introduced me to the Foundation—and each year he would write me a letter and in a very clever, subtle and persuasive way he would ask me to increase my commitment from the previous year. And I did—and the lesson is this—when Alan is in the neighborhood, tighten your purse strings!”
We always thought Alan Feldman and golf champion Jack Nicklaus and had something in common (if not golf skill level!), as reflected by Jack’s quote of wisdom: “Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation.” Alan lived out this philosophy for the ASHFoundation as a loyal ambassador, and achieved great things on our behalf.
Nancy Minghetti is executive director of ASHFoundation. firstname.lastname@example.org