The Guthrie Scottish Rite of Freemasonry recently renewed its partnership with OSU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders by donating $283,574 to the OSU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The partnership began in 2018 when the Guthrie Scottish Rite Foundation moved its speech and language clinic operations to Stillwater’s campus and gave an initial $182,411 to the department.
“We were providing exceptional care, but we were only filling a very small part of the needs of children with speech and language disorders,” said Joe Manning, an OSU graduate, Freemason and presiding officer over all Scottish Rite Masonic activities in Oklahoma. “In evaluating how our dollars could be used to the fullest potential, we ultimately determined the funds we dedicate annually to childhood language programs could be best utilized by partnering with an established program at an educational institution.”
Manning explained that the Guthrie Scottish Rite Foundation ultimately joined forces with OSU, where he estimates that their “dollars are treating over seven times the number of clients we served in our in-house clinic program.”
“Our members are confident our dedication to providing support for the treatment of children with speech and language disorders is as strong and meaningful as ever,” Manning said.
In addition to their donations in 2018 and 2020, the Guthrie Scottish Rite also gave $20,225 in 2019 for the development of a sensory room for CDIS’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic—an invaluable resource for clients, according to CDIS head Dr. Ramesh Kaipa.
“There are very few speech therapy centers in the state of Oklahoma designed to help individuals with sensory issues,” Kaipa said. “This sensory room is not just a place for children with communication disorders to go when they have a meltdown or a timeout. The sensory room calms these children while they regain control of their emotions. It can also be a fun environment that can enhance communication frequency for children with a range of communication disorders.”
Kaipa expressed gratitude for the Guthrie Scottish Rite’s generosity, saying their donations—which total $486,210 so far—have “changed the lives of clients and families seeking treatment at Oklahoma State University’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic” and will help the department expand “services provided to the community exponentially.”
The Guthrie Scottish Rite has a long tradition of philanthropy and service, as “we recognize we have an obligation to leave the world a better place than we found it,” Manning said. “Charity is an important tenet to all Scottish Rite Masons.”
The Masonic fraternity’s specific dedication to children’s speech and language development stretches back to 1977, when they opened the Guthrie RiteCare Clinic. Between its opening and its eventual move to CDIS in 2018, Manning said countless patients’ lives were bettered by the services provided—something he has seen continue at the OSU clinic.
“I remember a parent in a rural Oklahoma community that was desperate to find speech therapy for her son,” Manning said. “A friend had recommended she contact the Guthrie RiteCare Clinic. After just a few short months she wrote us, ‘Your program has been an answered prayer for us. The therapist is wonderful with our son. I could tell a difference the first time she worked with him. I have seen so much improvement with my son.’”
Manning pointed out that helping fund the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders goes beyond treating children with speech and language needs.
“Perhaps the greatest benefit of this partnership is the increased number of speech pathologists who will be going out to our communities and schools to provide life-altering therapy to children and adults alike,” Manning said.
He continued, “Guthrie Scottish Rite Masons are incredibly proud of the services our members are providing for the treatment of children with language disorders and welcome the continued opportunity to assist in providing a better life for Oklahoma’s children. We are confident the leadership of the Oklahoma State University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic will continue to provide us with innovative and progressive opportunities to support our joint mission.”