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Arnold School of Public Health

  • Kenn Apel (left) and Dean Thomas Chandler reveal the portrait of Al and Marcia Montgomery

Communication sciences and disorders department cuts ribbon on new space, renames outpatient clinic

July 12, 2019 | Erin Bluvas,

After decades of moving between buildings on and off campus—never all together in one place—the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) finally has a forever home at the Close-Hipp Building. Members and friends of the department celebrated the completion of the newly renovated space on June 28 with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’ve been working diligently on this move for over a year, and it was wonderful to celebrate with some of our many supporters,” says COMD Chair Kenn Apel. “This event also marked the dedication of the Montgomery Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic and the opening of the new space for the department.”

The program line up included remarks from Apel, Arnold School Dean Thomas Chandler, UofSC President Harris Pastides, and faculty members/namesakes of the new clinic, Al and Marcia Montgomery. All of the speakers commented on the growth and achievements of the department and its many contributors. The formal program was followed by an official ribbon cutting for the new clinic, refreshments and tours of the new facility.

Though COMD has seen many work spaces and been known by various names, the department has not only survived but thrived over the 45 years that have elapsed since it was established in 1974. It offers two paths to an accredited master’s degree program that prepare approximately 70 graduates per year for careers in speech-language pathology, and its growing doctoral program educates students to advance the COMD field through teaching, research and service. 

These students gain clinical experience at the Montgomery Speech, Hearing, and Language Clinic (formerly known as the USC Speech and Hearing Research Center and renamed to honor the lead gift from Al and Marcia Montgomery that made this move possible), where they treat patients for a range of communication challenges under the guidance of clinical faculty members. Students and clients both benefit from the administrative and geographical proximity of the Clinic by working alongside world-class faculty who are researching areas such as speech production/perception, communication function following stroke, hearing, fragile X syndrome, and language and literacy development and disorders. 

Predating the department by five years, the Clinic has provided quality diagnostic and treatment programs for individuals of all ages in the greater metropolitan area of Columbia for the past five decades. In its new space in the Close-Hipp building — alongside all of the faculty who support it — the Montgomery Clinic will be able to serve its clients even more effectively with a welcoming and professional waiting area and different-sized clinical rooms to meet individual client needs.  

The new location also provides more space for students to learn, prepare for clients and study together as well as a centralized area for department administrative services and space for department/faculty meetings and distance education advising. Further, it offers additional labs, waiting areas for research participants, and dedicated rooms for research testing for conducting project funded by federal and other competitive grants.

The Montgomerys’ lead gift has made the move to the Close-Hipp building and its associated construction costs possible. Additional support is still needed to outfit each space with equipment and furnishings to make education, research and clinical treatment possible. Learn more about Giving Opportunities here.  


Department of communication sciences and disorders and USC Speech and Hearing Research Center prep for move to Close-Hipp building

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