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TC Mourns Professor Emeritus Seymour Rigrodsky

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Seymour Rigrodsky

Seymour Rigrodsky

Professor Emeritus Seymour Rigrodsky, who chaired what is now TC’s program in Speech-Language Pathology, passed away earlier this year at the age of 82. Rigrodsky received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brooklyn College, and after serving in the U.S. military, earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1959. He subsequently collaborated with two Purdue faculty members, T.D. Hanley and M.D. Steer, in writing on the application of Mowrer’s autistic theory as a form of speech therapy for children with intellectual disabilities. The method was based upon establishing favorable associations in children between the words and sounds of language and the producer of the language, using stimulus reward and situation reward principles. 

During a career devoted to helping developmentally disabled children and adults, Rigrodsky served as a consultant to several institutions and veterans’ hospitals in New York City. He worked at the Vineland Training School in New Jersey and the University of Connecticut at Storrs, later serving as an associate professor of speech pathology and audiology at TC. He was subsequently named Chair of what was then the College’s Department of Speech Pathology, Language, and Audiology, succeeding Edward Mysak. He was a Life Member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

“Sy was, in the old fashion sense of the word, a true scholar of the sort who are the very backbone of academe and of intellectual endeavor,” said a former colleague Professor Ron Baken.

Rigrodsky is survived by his wife, Florine; his daughter, Rhonda; and his sons, Marc and Seth.


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