Patrica R. Cole portrait

Patricia Cole, renowned speech and hearing therapist, has been named the 1998-99 College of Communication Outstanding Alumnus.

Cole earned a bachelor's degree in speech pathology and education, a master’s degree in communication disorders and a doctorate in communication from The University of Texas at Austin. She also served as clinical supervisor at The University of Texas at Austin Speech and Hearing Clinic and as an instructor in the college’s Speech Communication Department.

Cole began her professional career as a speech and hearing therapist in Abilene public schools. She helped found the Austin Center for Speech, Language, and Learning Disorders and served as director. Cole’s career focused not only on speech, language and learning disorders but also on the elderly, chemical dependency and family violence. She served as executive officer and governmental affairs director of the Texas Chemical Dependency Association before being appointed director of health and human services policy under Texas Governor Ann Richards. After serving on Governor Richards' staff Cole worked as a public policy consultant for clients that included 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 has held numerous elected and appointed positions in the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Her publications include the book “Language Disorders in Preschool Children” and several book chapters and journal articles.

Cole was praised by Texas Senator Mike Moncrief as a “Texas treasure.”