Dr. Empress Zedler


Dr. Empress Young Zedler established the Speech and Hearing Clinic in 1948 when she joined the faculty at Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University).  In addition to her career as a professor and chair of the Department of Special Education (1964–1977), she was a pioneer in the field of language and learning disabilities and became internationally known for her work in the field of special education and speech-language pathology.  


Zedler received her bachelor's, master's and doctor of philosophy degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. When she earned her doctorate in 1953, she became the second female faculty member at Texas State to hold a Ph.D.


Throughout her career, Zedler traveled widely to speak as an authority on speech and language disorders and child psychology. The depth of her research, combined with her observations during clinic work, informed the concepts she taught to her students in the 1970s.  Zedler's theories on language development were confirmed decades later by neuroscientists using functional MRIs to monitor activity in the language center(s) of the brain.


After 31 years as a researcher, teacher, therapist and administrator at Texas State, Dr. Zedler transitioned to part-time work in May 1979 before fully retiring in May 1981.  She continued her private practice in psychology and language pathology for another 13 years. 


In 1989, Zedler was named Professor Emeritus in perpetuity by the Texas State University System's Board of Regents.