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SXU's Renaissance Academy gifts $60K to Ludden Speech and Language Clinic


Paying it forward is a good deed; one the Saint Xavier University (SXU) community knows very well. That said, it is no surprise that the Renaissance Academy at Chicago NFP recently made a generous donation of $60,000 to SXU's Ludden Speech and Language Clinic. The Renaissance Academy provides life-long learning opportunities for senior citizens that encourage the continuation of learning.  SXU provides the academic setting for Renaissance Academy classes. The Ludden Speech and Language Clinic offers services to people who benefit from speech therapies. The message is clear: generosity speaks volumes when it is passed from one helping hand to another.

"The generosity of the Renaissance Academy is extraordinary," said SXU's President Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D. "This group of lifelong learners has paid it forward not just to SXU, but to the larger community, as well. By providing this gift to our Ludden Clinic, the Renaissance Academy is helping community members access Ludden's services to suit their speech and language needs. This gift also strengthens our already nationally recognized Communications Sciences and Disorders program, by providing our students access to state of the art technology and simulation training equipment. This University was built on a sense of community and you see that same sense of community embodied in this remarkable gift from the Renaissance Academy."

Since 1959, the Ludden Speech and Language Clinic has been serving families of kin with communication disorders through speech, individual, group and vocational therapies. Services are offered for clients experiencing a range of communication challenges, including language delays, phonology/articulation disorders, aphasia, hearing disabilities, stuttering, traumatic brain issues, and problems in fluency. Off-site programs are also organized to benefit community members.

Currently, the Clinic treats around 160 clients per semester during SXU's academic year, offering comprehensive summer services to an additional 50 to 60 clients. Services are inclusive of clients from early intervention through geriatric populations. The Ludden Speech and Language Clinic has always prioritized assisting economically disadvantaged individuals, and in 2016, SXU made the decision to become a "no-fee" clinic. Thus, the generosity of donations are vital to its survival.

The Renaissance Academy began in 1991 for retired and semi-retired individuals who sought the adventure of education. For 26 years, it has stimulated learning, enrichment and fellowship through participating members and peer taught courses. SXU provides space for the classes, on both its Chicago and Orland Park campuses, in support of its Learning for Life Core Value.

"As a senior citizens organization that is comprised of many South Side natives, we felt this would be a worthwhile endeavor, which would not only benefit children in the community, but adults as well," said Mary Lou Lovell, president of SXU's Renaissance Academy. "Given the fact we have a home at Saint Xavier as an organization, we felt it was important to give back to the University and offer assistance to a great program that we ourselves may need to use one day."

Renaissance Academy classes consist of three, eight-week terms throughout the fall, winter and spring. Members are encouraged to take one to three classes each term, depending on their availability. Class facilitators are selected on a volunteer basis; any member is welcome to propose an area of study and develop a program. Previous curriculums have included: arts and sciences; cosmetology; current events; entertainment; finances; fitness; history; literature; poetry; philosophy; religion; and geography.

Membership fees at the Chicago campus range from $120 to 150 per year, and $50 per term at the Orland Park campus.

For more information on the Ludden Speech and Language Clinic, please visit their web page. To learn more about the Renaissance Academy, please call 773-298-3149 (Chicago campus); or visit their web page.