In Appreciation: Patricia R. Cole A Passionate Advocate In Appreciation
In Appreciation  |   September 01, 2001
In Appreciation: Patricia R. Cole
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Hearing & Speech Perception / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / In Appreciation
In Appreciation   |   September 01, 2001
In Appreciation: Patricia R. Cole
The ASHA Leader, September 2001, Vol. 6, 1-24. doi:10.1044/leader.IA.06172001.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2001, Vol. 6, 1-24. doi:10.1044/leader.IA.06172001.1
Patricia Ruth Cole, 60, 1987 ASHA president and speech-language pathologist, died on Aug. 14 of cancer, in Texas.
She had been honored on May 24, the day designated “Pat Cole Appreciation Day,” by both houses of the Texas Legislature for her 25 years of humanitarian service ( The ASHA Leader, Aug. 7). Cole, who was associate director of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Austin, TX, and legislative liaison for the Texas Council of Family Violence, also served, from 1991–1994, as director of Health and Human Services Policy during the administration of Texas Gov. Ann W. Richards. In that role, Cole oversaw 12 state agencies and represented the governor on health and human services issues with state agencies and the state legislature.
Cole also served, unofficially, but importantly, as counselor to the younger members of Richards’ staff who, to this day, continue to cherish her wise advice and nurturing spirit. Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio remembers that Cole taught her, “You’ve got to pick your fights, and you’ve got to know what hill you want to die on, and you’ve got to know where you want to make your stand.”
During her day of warm appreciation in the Texas legislature, Cole was praised by Texas Sen. Mike Moncrief as a “Texas treasure.” He spoke of her tireless advocacy on behalf of battered women and her expectation that others will have a call to action as strong as her own. “She expects you to do what is right,” said Moncrief, “and she will dog your heels until you have done just that.” He called her a “unique woman who has given much, and as a result, we are all better for it.” Sen. Judith Zaffirini added that she is “the kind of leader who will not take no for an answer. She develops the issue, she works with everyone who supports her, and she works with everyone who opposes that issue until she finds that solution.”
Before she entered politics, Cole (BS, MA, and PhD, the University of Texas, Austin), was a cofounder, in 1971, of the Austin Speech Language and Hearing Center, where she practiced until 1984. Earlier she served as clinical supervisor at the University of Texas (UT) Speech and Hearing Clinic, an instructor in the UT department of speech communication, and also taught at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. During these years, she was active both in ASHA and the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA). Cole was also the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals.
After serving on Gov. Richards’ staff, Cole worked as a public policy consultant for clients that included ASHA and the Texas Council for Family Violence. This was followed by an appointment as co-director of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Cole, an ASHA Fellow, was the recipient of many honors and awards including Outstanding Alumnus for 1998-1999 from the UT College of Communication, the Distinguished Service Award of the Texas Occupational Therapy Association, and the Presidential Citation of the Texas Association of the Deaf. She also received the Honors of TSHA.
In memory of Cole’s strong support of women’s sports, a scholarship is being established in her name at UT. Contributions may be sent to The University of Texas, The Longhorn Legacy, P.O. Box 7399, Austin, TX 78713. Contributions may also be made to the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 9448 Dixie Lane, Dallas, TX 75228.
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September 2001
Volume 6, Issue 17