According to his friends and colleagues, Richard Schiefelbusch is a real Wizard of Oz.
While the fictional wizard was a powerless non-entity who hid behind curtains, Schiefelbusch was always someone to go to with a problem, said Jim Sherman, chair of Kansas University's department of human development and family life.
"Dick was what the Wizard of Oz should have been," Sherman said. "It is clear that much more good stuff happened when Dick was involved than when he was not."
Schiefelbusch, a long-time professor of speech, language and hearing, retired last year. On Tuesday, KU gave him a special honor.
The R.L. Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, located in KU's new Dole Center, was dedicated.
Schiefelbusch served on the KU faculty from 1946 to 1989. During that time, he was director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, the Bureau of Child Research, the Gerontology Center and the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.
Jane Wegner, present director of the clinic, said Schiefelbusch is a world leader in speech-language pathology, language development and disorders, special education and mental retardation.
SCHIEFELBUSCH joined Wegner at the podium while she spoke of his accomplishments.
"As we dedicate the clinic in your honor, we aspire to participate in clinical service, teaching and research activities with the same commitment, enthusiasm, productivity and respect for individuals with disabilities that you have shown throughout your career," Wegner said. "We have all appreciated the support that you have provided to the faculty, staff and students and patrons of the clinic."
Schiefelbusch said he felt awkward about the honor because his colleagues had much to do with his accomplishments.
"Please realize that there are many of you here who helped me," he said during the ceremony in the Dole Center. "You should have a roster of honor for these people."
Schiefelbusch said he found people at KU who shared his values and passion for helping others.
"Forty-five years ago on Nov. 1, Ruth and I appeared here," Schiefelbusch said. "I see people here who I've known for almost all of those 45 years."
HE SAID he spent those years working with quality people who kept the ideals of compassion intact.
"It is out of giving that we learn," he said. "It is out of compassion that we gain the knowledge that we have. I came here because I wanted to learn how to help people. I would hope that as time goes on I can continue to have fantasies that I'm relevant to this clinic for as long as I live."