Zedler wanted to bring experts in the field to campus so that her students could learn from them directly. The first hurdle was finding outside money to bring guests to campus for lectures and classes, because there were restrictions on how legislative appropriations could be used.Zedler wanted to bring experts in the field to campus so that her students could learn from them directly. The first hurdle was finding outside money to bring guests to campus for lectures and classes, because there were restrictions on how legislative appropriations could be used.
I would hear lectures and wish that my students could hear them and wish that they could have the advantage that I was having. And so I came back and requested — inquired as to how to get the money — all it would take was money. Lecturers and teachers have to be paid, and I found that famous people in my field, that they were willing to come to Texas if we could pay them.
— Empress Zedler oral history interview, May 4, 1986
A very frustrated Dr. Zedler made a midnight telephone call to President Flowers asking for assistance. After getting over his annoyance at being awakened in the middle of the night, Flowers established the special education foundation and a board of directors so Zedler could raise the money needed to bring experts to campus. With two exceptions, every person on the foundation's board was the parent of a child enrolled in the clinic.
Unsurprisingly, she soon discovered that "people who were so willing to give advice were not too willing to part with their monies," so Zedler applied for a professional development grant from the Lupton-Brown Foundation. She received the grant of $2,500 for her own professional development — and promptly gave that check to the special education foundation. As Zedler stated, "that was the beginning of a series of summer ... courses, taught by world famous authorities in various branches of special education."
Starting in the summer of 1952, the special education foundation started bringing prominent experts to lecture and teach.
- Tarlton Morrow, MD - University of Pittsburgh - child psychiatry
- Jon Eisenson, PhD - Queen's College, NY
- Temple Fay, MD - neurosurgeon and co-founder of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy
- Charles Van Riper, PhD - Western Michigan University - stuttering
- Harold Westlake, PhD - Northwestern University - speech pathology
- Doris Johnson, co-author of the "Learning Disabilities" textbook used by SWT Special Ed department. One of three seminars July 1970