About

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Mission

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people who have disabilities, the aged, and people who are financially disadvantaged, including the working poor and those who are indigent or chronically ill.

History

The Donald D. Hammill Foundation is a non-profit foundation established in 1988 in Austin, Texas, through an initial endowment by Donald D. Hammill. His intention was to provide grants to programs in the Austin metropolitan area that serve individuals with disabilities and people who are financially disadvantaged, including the working poor and those who are indigent, chronically ill, and/or aged. Second, to support researchers in their quest to understand the nature of disabilities and develop treatment options.

Foundation Icon

Athena, the classical goddess of wisdom, is the emblem of the Foundation and the symbolical protectress of its undertakings. Benevolent in peace, nurturing all useful work, Athena was redoubtable in war, earning reverence from compatriots and enemies alike. Intelligent, independent, and headstrong, Athena stood up even to her father, Zeus, king of all the Olympians, who could curb neither her words nor her deeds.

Trustees

Donald D. Hammill

Stephen C. Larsen

Phyllis L. Newcomer

James R. Patton

Nils A. Pearson

Judith K. Voress

Trustee Bios

Donald D. Hammill

Don received a doctorate in educational psychology-special education from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963. He had previously served as a teacher in the Corpus Christi (Texas) public schools and as a speech and language therapist in the Deer Park (Texas) public schools. He earned a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he held an assistant research professorship at the Institute of Logopedics at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he studied the language problems of children with brain damage. In 1965 he went to Temple University in Philadelphia, rising quickly to the rank of full professor of special education. He resigned from Temple in 1972 in order to return home to Texas. In 1977, Donald established PRO-ED, an international publishing company, and he serves as its president. Today PRO-ED is one of the major international publishers in the areas of special and remedial education, rehabilitation, psychology, assessment, and speech and hearing disorders. The extensive product line includes tests, teaching and therapeutic materials, books and reference materials, and thirteen journals.

Stephen C. Larsen

Steve grew up in the Omaha, Nebraska, area. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Kansas and began his tenure in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin that same year. During his 25 years at the university, Steve attained the rank of professor, was appointed graduate adviser, and served as acting chair of the Department of Special Education. In 1981, he was awarded a senior lectureship from the Fullbright Commission and was assigned to positions in Spain and Portugal. Steve has written more than 50 professional journal articles, 3 textbooks, and 7 standardized tests used in the diagnosis of children with disabilities. He has been elected to office in several international organizations in the fields of psychology and education and has served in various editorial capacities for journals focusing on the education of students with disabilities. In 1995, Steve retired from the university; he currently is engaged in independent research and writing.

Phyllis L. Newcomer

Phyllis was educated in the Philadelphia area and received her doctorate in special education from Temple University, where her advisor was Donald Hammill. Phyllis's interest in special education began when she was a seventh-grade language arts teacher working with children who had learning and behavioral problems. Shortly thereafter she followed that interest and began teaching a class of adolescents with social and emotional disturbances. She went on to become a school psychologist and director of special education before entering academia at the University of Arizona in 1973. From there she went to the University of Texas at Austin for several years, then to Beaver College in Pennsylvania as a professor of special education. There she chaired the Education Department and coordinated the special education program. Among Phyllis's professional contributions are several textbooks dealing with emotional disturbance, numerous journal articles pertaining to special education, and several assessment instruments used to identify aspects of children's learning. From 1981 to 1986, she served as editor of Learning Disability Quarterly, the professional journal of the Council for Learning Disabilities. Currently Phyllis is an independent researcher and author.

James R. Patton

Jim is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. He was formerly a special education teacher in the Charlottesville (Virginia) city school system and a teacher of gifted students and students with special needs at ASSETS School in Hawaii. During his doctoral program work, he was involved with adult services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Jim was a member of the faculty of the Department of Special Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for 10 years; during his last year, he served as department chair. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas at Austin since 1990. He has served on the editorial boards of many professional journals and in leadership positions with national organizations devoted to the areas of learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, transition, and international special education. He has written extensively in the area of human exceptionality and special education, authoring or co-authoring more than 50 books as well as over 50 articles, contributed book chapters, and assessment instruments. His primary areas of professional interest include life skills instruction, transition, adults with disabilities, instructional accommodations, and international issues related to special education. From 1990 to 2001 he was executive editor in charge of books and materials for PRO-ED. Currently, Jim teaches classes at the University of Texas at Austin, consults with schools throughout the country, serves as an expert in death penalty cases, conducts research, and continues to write books, assessments instruments, articles, and chapters.

Nils A. Pearson

Nils was raised on Long Island, New York. Soon after receiving an undergraduate degree in psychology with an emphasis on persons with disabilities, he and his wife, Kathleen, worked as houseparents for young women with emotional and behavior problems. Nils then joined the staff of the Austin (Texas) State School, an institutional facility for individuals with mental retardation. While there, Nils helped change the roles of the institutional staff, allowing residents greater freedom to actively participate in decisions regarding their daily lives. He moved on to work with students identified as deaf/blind while also pursuing a master of arts degree in special education. From 1976 through 1987, he served as assistant director of community-based services at the Infant-Parent Training Program. He continued to work while pursing his doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1988, Nils joined the research staff at PRO-ED. In 1993, he became director of research, a position he held until 2002. After leaving PRO-ED, he became an independent author and spends his days developing new tests and revising existing instruments in the area of disability. He currently resides in Austin with his wife Kathleen. Their children Ingrid and Nils Erik live in the central Texas area along with grandchildren Kiersten and Jacob.

Judith K. Voress

Judy started teaching at a county school for children with moderate mental retardation while working on her undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University. Following graduation, she taught a middle school special education class and general education elementary classes. She went on to get her master's degree from Ball State University, joining the university's faculty for 3 years. In 1983, Judy received her doctorate in learning disabilities from the University of New Mexico. She taught at The University of Texas at Arlington, then left to accept a position as program coordinator for 9 counties in Texas for an early childhood intervention program. Judy joined PRO-ED in 1986 as associate editor of the Journal of Learning Disabilities, serving in that position for 10 years. During this time, she also held an adjunct position in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Judy was Periodicals Director at PRO-ED until 2005. She is an author of several tests and materials.