Date: March 4, 2005
CONTACT: Sally Logue Post, sally.post@ttu.edu

LUBBOCK – Texas Tech University officials today announced the establishment of the $500,000 Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart Professorship in Autism Education.

This is the couple’s second major gift to the Texas Tech College of Education; the first established the Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research in 2003.

The professorship is one of several established under the Regents Faculty Endowment Program. Gifts of $250,000 are matched with existing university funds to create named professorships. The program is part of the university’s goal of recruiting and retaining quality faculty members.

“This new professorship will enable the college to recruit an outstanding faculty member whose teaching and research abilities will further establish the national reputation of the Burkhart Center,” said Dr. Sheryl Santos, dean of the College of Education.

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research currently offers training development in autism education for area school districts and will soon begin offering diagnostic services.

“A new and much needed area of concentration for the center will be transition issues for adults with autism spectrum disorders,” said Dr. Robin Lock, co-director of the center and associate professor. “There is not a lot of work being done in the adult population. We need to identify the strengths that these adults possess and then help them to find opportunities to be productive members of the community.”

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects an individual in the areas of social interaction and communication. Autism affects each individual differently and to varying degrees of severity. As many as 1.5 million Americans - children and adults - are thought to have autism today.
CONTACT: Robin Lock, co-director of the Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, (806) 742-1998.