ALUMNI DONOR SPOTLIGHT
Dr. Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk
Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk is a study in persistence and dedication. More than 50 years after founding the Harry Jersig Speech and Hearing Center at Our Lady of the Lake University, Woolfolk continues her mission to help children and adults with language disorders.
“I am finishing up the revision of some tests I’ve developed for oral and written language comprehension and expression,” she said from her home in Houston. “It’s a big job. One of the tests will be finished in 2011. The other won’t be ready until 2013.”
A 1949 graduate of OLLU, Woolfolk is a pioneer, a tireless champion of the hearing and speech impaired. Her research, teaching and ground-breaking treatments have improved the lives of thousands around the world. But she’s not finished yet. She still has those tests for children and adults to complete.
“The tests will assess their understanding and ability to express language, with the intent of finding any problems they have,” she said. ”The tests measure such things as their ability to understand words. They also measure the ability to understand non-literal English. They cover a lot of ground.”
Woolfolk has covered lots of ground herself. Decades ago, she was a member of the religious order at Our Lady of the Lake. After earning the master’s degree at the University of Texas and a PhD at Northwestern University, she joined Baylor College of Medicine on the faculty of otolaryngology. Her next position was as program head in communication sciences at the University of Texas. Subsequently, she married Robert Moore Woolfolk of Houston.
Dr. Woolfolk taught at OLLU for years and served as vice president for development. She raised money and oversaw construction of one of the nation’s first free-standing speech and language clinics. Dr. Woolfolk named the clinic after Lone Star Brewery owner Harry Jersig, the building’s major benefactor.
In addition, Dr. Woolfolk headed speech pathology services at three Houston hospitals, became a noted lecturer and authored several books. She has won many honors and has donated generously to the University.
“When you’ve been some place for a long time, you grow to love it and want it to succeed,” she said. “I can’t think of a better way to spend my time and money. OLLU is a wonderful institution. It deserves all the support it can get.”
Photo: Dr. Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk