Ellen Schwartz

Ellen Schwartz’s passion for helping children with communication disorders took wing at Temple, where she got her master’s degree in speech-language pathology (SLP) in 1969. In those days, the Speech and Hearing Center was a modest operation on Park Avenue, since transformed into Liacouras Walk.

“When I think of the tiny little row home where I was trained in the '60s, I have to laugh,” Schwartz says. Though the facilities may have been humble, her experience helping children with their hearing, speaking and understanding shaped Schwartz’s 50-year career. She rose to director of speech-language pathology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and started her own private practice, where for 35 years she treated preschool- and early elementary-aged children with communication disorders.

Now Schwartz has given a $1 million gift to create the Ellen Schwartz Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, a spacious facility that will offer state-of-the-art training resources to graduate-student clinicians while delivering accessible and subsidized health services to the Philadelphia community. The new clinic is scheduled to open in 2026 in a new pediatric clinical research center in Pearson Hall, a community-accessible location on Broad Street. The new center also will be home to the ABA Centers of America Autism Lab and the Center for Obesity Research and Education’s pediatric research.

The College of Public Health’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, currently based in Weiss Hall, is the clinical component of the graduate program in speech, language and hearing science. The Clinic provides a wide range of services to children and adults with communication disorders. As many as 50 graduate-student clinicians provide services to dozens of clients each week under the supervision of Temple faculty in areas including audiology, articulation therapy, language therapy, stuttering and voice disorders. The clinic welcomes local community members, including children with autism and childhood apraxia of speech and adults with speech impairments. During the 1980s, Schwartz was a clinical instructor in the Weiss clinic.

Ellen Schwartz working with a child as a clinician
Ellen Schwartz early in her career, working with a child in an audiology lab. "This adorable little girl is now 56 years old and a doctor," Schwartz says.

Health services offered at Weiss will move to the Ellen Schwartz Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, with expanded possibilities for students and the community. The voice lab and audiology equipment will be updated. The new center additionally will provide a home base for the Philadelphia Aphasia Community at Temple (PACT), a support group with a wide range of adult community members. 

Lisa Bedore, chair and professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Beth Levine, director of clinical education and clinical services in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, look forward to the expanded space. 

“There will be more opportunities for undergraduate students – from our own program and from introductory public health courses—to come and observe in the clinic,” Bedore says.  Proximity to gyms and other recreational facilities in Pearson and McGonigle Hall will enable increased collaborations with other departments, such as the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. 

Plans also include a play area for children. "I've always worked with children, and they need space that is child friendly and well equipped. That’s one thing that will make me very happy,” Schwartz says. 

”Ellen’s gift is incredibly generous and will make a tremendous impact in how we can train our students and provide services in our community,” says Jennifer Ibrahim, dean of the College of Public Health. “We look forward to collaborating with Ellen and building from her experience as we finalize the blueprints for the space.” 

Schwartz previously endowed a $250,000 graduate scholarship for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, aimed at helping offset the costs of graduate school. 

“When I'm passionate about something, I want to support it,” she says. “So when this opportunity came, I thought, 'You know, let me make a mark. Let me support it in a major way.' Helping children with communications disorders is so important, and we want our future professionals to have the best resources and training. I do think that having this modern facility in North Philadelphia will be very impactful.”