Fourth Annual Callier Cares Luncheon Raises More Than $200,000 for Patients in Need
Mike McCullough Honored with the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award

Callier Cares Luncheon 2015

Dr. Bert Moore (from left), Dr. Ken Altshuler and Ruth Altshuler presented the Ruth & Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award to Mike McCullough at the Fourth Annual Callier Cares Luncheon.

When caring people come together, it is amazing what can be accomplished in a little over an hour: raise more than $200,000 to benefit patients in need, honor a Dallas luminary as well as a renowned researcher, hear a mother’s story about her son’s autism and even watch a robot demonstrate the next generation of autism therapy.

The Callier Center for Communication Disorders’ fourth annual Callier Cares Luncheon checked off this list and then some.

Through the leadership of honorary chair Marilyn Augur and chair Tiffany Divis, more than 300 philanthropists, community leaders, partners, patients and friends filled the sold-out room at Brook Hollow Golf Club. This generous group raised more than $200,000, which will benefit patients in need with speech, language and hearing disorders through the Callier Care Fund. The fund, created by Ruth and Ken Altshuler, provides treatment for children and adults who would otherwise be unable to afford care.

Callier Cares Luncheon 2015

Dr. Thomas Campbell (left) presented the Callier Prize to Dr. Laurence B. Leonard.

Mike McCullough, a distinguished attorney and community leader, was honored with the 2015 Ruth & Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community and to advancing the care of patients with communication disorders.

In 1963, upon graduation from The University of Texas School of Law, McCullough joined Thompson & Knight and began legal work for the Callier Hearing and Speech Center, as it was called at the time. When Callier became part of UT Dallas in 1975, McCullough prepared the transfer agreement. He was also instrumental in obtaining the IRS ruling that created the Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders. McCullough served as president of the foundation from 2003-2004 and currently serves as “Of Council.”

“Mike’s legacy of compassion and generosity are woven into the fabric of Callier’s history,” said Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor. The Altshulers joined Moore on the stage to present the award to McCullough.

Callier Cares Luncheon 2015

Tiffany Divis (left) chaired the luncheon, and Marilyn Augur was the honorary chair.

“I cherish this award, and I accept it on behalf of the courageous individuals and their caring families served by Callier,” said McCullough.

Dr. Laurence B. Leonard, Rachel E. Stark Distinguished Professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University, was honored with the 2015 Callier Prize. The biennial award recognizes individuals whose leadership and research contributions have promoted scientific advances and significant developments in the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders.

Leonard is a leading scholar and prolific scientist in the study of children with specific language impairment, a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills in children who have no hearing loss or significant delays in other developmental areas.

“Dr. Leonard’s important contributions to research as well as his scholarly mentoring of a generation of doctoral students have left an indelible impact on the profession of communication sciences and disorders,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, the Ludwig A. Michael, MD Executive Director of the Callier Center and Sara T. Martineau Professor.

“I’m so very thankful, and I promise to continue to strive to live up to the high standards that the Callier Prize represents,” Leonard said.

Callier Cares Luncheon 2015

The luncheon's featured speaker, Rhoni Golden, shared the journey of navigating the treatment and care for her son, Gray, who has severe autism.

Featured speaker Rhoni Golden shared her journey of navigating the treatment and care for her son, Gray, who has severe autism. When Gray was 15 months old, a test concluded that he was unable to manage thin liquids. He choked on anything thinner than honey. Golden enrolled him in a feeding program at Callier, where he began to follow a regular diet within three months.

When Gray was 19 months old, a specialist diagnosed him with autism. Golden returned to the Callier Center and enrolled Gray in Callier’s autism program.

“During Gray’s time in the Preverbal Communications Program and the Early CLASS preschool program, I always felt confident that I was placing my son in the hands of experts who based their recommendations and treatment plans on solid research-backed evidence,” Golden said.

Now 9 years old, Gray communicates through an app on his iPad. He also has a service dog named Hope who serves as his emotional and cognitive anchor. Golden said that she wished she could say that Gray is functioning as a typical 9-year-old boy, but because of the severity of his autism, that is not the story.

“What I can tell you is the expertise and passion shown to us by everyone who works with Gray has helped my family navigate this difficult road with a better handle on what to expect and how to help him achieve his greatest possible potential.”

A glimpse into the future of autism therapy was revealed through a cutting-edge research project that was featured in the Callier Cares video. Robots4Autism, a collaboration between the Callier Center and RoboKind, uses a humanoid robot called Milo to deliver research-based lessons that teach social behaviors to children with autism.

Dr. Pamela Rollins, associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, works with engineers at RoboKind to create a one-of-a-kind curriculum that combines social stories, visual support, video modeling and the principle of applied behavioral analysis.

“The goal is not to interact with Milo forever. It’s to interact with humans, to take those lessons and bring them into the real world,” Rollins said.

The fifth annual Callier Cares Luncheon will be held on April 19. To contribute to the Callier Care Fund, please visit

Watch the Callier Cares video.

Callier Cares Luncheon Underwriters

The luncheon’s major donors included the following:

Love ($25,000)

Ruth and Ken Altshuler

Compassion ($10,000)

Marilyn AugurAl G. Hill Jr.David B. Miller Family FoundationThompson & Knight FoundationThe Wolf Family Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas

Kindness ($5,000)

The Eugene McDermott FoundationLibby and David Hunt/The Nancy and Herbert Hunt Family FoundationGene JonesSharon and Mike McCulloughLaura and Robert NeelySarah and Ross Perot Jr.Michal and Loyd Powell Jr.Barbara and John Stuart III

Hope ($3,000)

Betsy and Bennett CullumKerry Wildenthal FagelmanAnne and John McPhersonOlmsted-Kirk Company

Contributor ($1,501-$2,999)

Lee BaileyBeth and Mark LaytonSara and David MartineauDrs. Carol and Daniel Podolsky

Friendship ($1,500)

Peggy CarrNancy CarterCenter for BrainHealthChildren's Health/Children's Medical Center FoundationLinda and Bill CustardTiffany and Paul DivisEd Haggar Family FoundationGail FischerLouise and Guy GriffethGayle JohansenMrs. Eugene McDermottThe Meadows FoundationDr. Bert S. MooreAmy and Harrison StonehamUT Southwestern Medical Center/Southwestern Medical FoundationVin and Caren Prothro FoundationEmilynn Berry Wilson

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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