After 32 years, Karen O'Leary retires

Karen standing in front of her office doorOn January 1, Karen O'Leary '80 officially retired from her position as director, WSU Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Clinics and clinical coordinator for speech-language pathology. O'Leary had been employed by the university since 1990 and had served as SLP clinical director since 2009.

O'Leary said she treasured her time treating clients and training students.

Pre-pandemic we would close the semester with a potluck for the stroke patients where their families would come." O'Leary said. "Friendships were made for people from many different walks of lives."

In her journey, O'Leary has been a source of inspiration for students and supported the growth of speech-language interest in the community.

Students who were mentored and advised by O'Leary over the years shared their retirement well wishes and shared memories on a Facebook post shared by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Kristen Latra, B.A., M.A. '09 said that she and many other alumni owe much of their career to O'Leary.

"Mrs. O'Leary has been one of the most influential people in my life. Without her, I doubt I would be a practicing speech-language pathologist or have finished my bachelor's or master's degrees. She spent countless hours mentoring, encouraging, and guiding students, myself included. Without her many of us would not be where we are today," Latra said. "Her dedication and knowledge has had incredible influence on all of the communication sciences and disorders students and have greatly impacted the field of speech-language pathology!"

O'Leary said that the clinic's Speech and Language Center's work is never done and that it will continue to improve and build off of the legacy she left, much in part to donations to the Clinic's fund.

O'Leary said donations continue to fund and support ongoing enhancements for the clinic and added that further support will continue to expand the clinic's impact.

"We could buy more technology and literacy materials we do a lot of work to support early literacy in children with communication impairments," she explained.

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