Country superstar Mel Tillis visited CSD students to discuss his speech impairment and how it affected his career and life.

Above: Country superstar Mel Tillis visited CSD students to discuss his speech impairment and how it affected his career and life.

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Mel Tillis Visits Graduate Students

Country music singer and songwriter Mel Tillis visited the University of Florida Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders on September 8.

In a lively and inspiring discussion with Dr. Ken Logan’s graduate class on stuttering, Mr. Tillis talked about his experiences with the affliction – addressing issues such as the ways in which stuttering has affected his career, the ways others have reacted to his speech, the techniques he has used to manage stuttering, and the role of humor in dealing with disability. After the class, Mr. Tillis stayed to sign autographs, pose for photographs with students, and field additional questions.

Tillis has made no secret of the fact that he stutters, featuring his speech impairment in his stage shows and in the numerous appearances he has made on shows such as the Johnny Carson Show and The David Letterman Show.

In an open letter to fans, he has written, “I have come to think of it (the stutter) as my old friend. It’s always there and will always be there.”

Tillis has done fundraising work to help the Scottish Rite Foundation support speech and hearing clinics across the United States. In 1998, he served as spokesman and honorary chairman for the Stuttering Foundation of America.

A Florida native and Ocala resident, Tillis has been active in the music industry since the 1950’s. He has written over 1000 songs, recorded by more than 600 major artists, and is a member of both the Country Music and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has 36 top-ten singles and 6 number one hits to his credit. In 2001, he was awarded a Special Citation of Achievement from BMI in honor of the 3 millionth broadcast performance of his song, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”

For more information of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, visit http://www.csd.ufl.edu.

Contact

Writer / Photo

Kenneth Logan, 392-2113 x 249, klogan@ufl.edu

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