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University Archives

Katherine Thorn (1908-1977)

Kay Thorn Professor
Department of Speech Pathology
Years at UB: 1949-1971

University Archives collection: 22/10F/121

Katherine "Kay" Thorn, a nationally known authority on speech and hearing disorders, fulfilled many roles during her service to UB. Thorn first came to UB in 1949, as the first professor in her field, Speech Pathology. One year later, Thorn established the UB Speech and Hearing Clinic and served as its director until her retirement in 1971. Thorn also served as a faculty advisor and as Assistant Dean of Students.

Thorn obtained her undergraduate degree from Elmira College; both her M.S. and Ph.D. came from the University of Minnesota. Before coming to UB, Thorn was a speech therapist in the East Aurora Public Schools. During her career at UB, Thorn was a founder and a leader in the professional activities associated with speech pathology.

She was Founder and Vice President of the New York State Speech and Hearing Association, the first woman elected to the board of, and later a fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association. In addition, she held diplomatic status in the American Psychological Association.

Thorn published her research in a number of different journals and acted as an editorial consultant to the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders. At UB, Thorn served as president of the UB Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and as secretary of the University Senate. In the Buffalo community Thorn was no less active; she served as Director of the YWCA of Buffalo and Erie County and consulted on speech pathology at the Veterans Administration Hospitals in Buffalo and Bath.