Alumnus Builds Scholarship in Parents’ Names

Assistance directed to transfer students majoring in communication sciences and disorders

Ole Miss alumnus Tommie L. Robinson Jr. (right) is building a scholarship for community college transfers in honor of his parents, including his mother, Anna Robinson (left). The speech and hearing professional recently asked family and friends to make contributions to the scholarship fund for his birthday. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Tommie L. Robinson Jr., a University of Mississippi alumnus who graduated with undergraduate and master’s degrees in communication sciences and disorders, is helping fund a scholarship in his parents’ names for students transferring to Ole Miss from Coahoma Community College.

Robinson is chief of the Division of Hearing and Speech and director of the Scottish Rite Center for Communication Disorders at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. He is also a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“This means the world to me because my parents will live in perpetuity through the lives of many scholarship recipients to come,” said Robinson, who also earned a doctoral degree from Howard University.

“My father has been deceased for 45 years and my mother turned 90 this year. It was a way to honor his memory and celebrate her life.”

Robinson has received an overwhelming amount of support from family and friends who have donated to the Anna and Tommie L. Robinson, Sr. Scholarship Endowment. He pledged to raise money for the scholarship for his birthday, saying he went in with limited expectations but those close to him managed to almost double his goal.

“They know my mother and her kind heart … they wanted to give,” Robinson said. “Over the next 10 years, I would love to see the fund grow to a minimum of $200,000.”

Peter Grandjean, dean of the School of Applied Sciences, praised Robinson’s work professionally and with the scholarship fund.

“Dr. Robinson is a luminary force for our communication sciences and disorders program,” he said. “He has earned his way to the top of the speech-language pathology profession – as recognized by an ASHA Lifetime Achievement Award – and has given back to the program and our university at every step of his professional journey.

“His efforts have led to a scholarship that will open doors and provide opportunity for transfer students coming to Ole Miss. Dr. Robinson’s inspirational story, his powerful example and his heart for giving to those who come after him speak to our School of Applied Sciences strategic goals: to provide an unmatched educational experience and to enrich everything we do with diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Robinson credits his success to Ole Miss professors and leaders Tom Crowe, Gloria Kellum and Sue Hale who influenced his life and career in an enormous way. He said each took time to guide him in his career relative to research, leadership, teaching and life skills.

“They were amazing, and I see myself just simply doing for others what these individuals did for me,” Robinson said. “I am who I am professionally because of Drs. Crowe and Kellum and Mrs. Hale. I am incredibly thankful for the impact they had on my life, and I truly value their friendship.”

Robinson received the Honors Award of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in November 2021. It is the highest award given by the more-than-220,000-member organization of audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language and hearing scientists.

The Ole Miss alumnus is also respected for his leadership and mentorship within Children’s National Hospital, where he has worked since 1987. Beginning as a staff speech-language pathologist, he was later promoted to coordinator of speech-language pathology and then to director of the Scottish Rite Center for communication disorders.

Robinson is one of the earliest researchers to examine the characteristics of fluency and disfluencies in Black people. His unique work laid the foundation for his later efforts in the application of that knowledge to intervention in Black children who stutter.

His work continues to serve as the primary contribution to the science of the discipline in this area.

Robinson was elected as the first Black male president of ASHA. Additionally, he has been recognized for his leadership roles with the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association and his work with the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics.

Robinson said he knew in seventh grade that he wanted to be a speech-language pathologist.

“This was primarily because of my family history of stuttering,” Robinson said. “I can say that my sister Regina is the reason that I am one today.”

To contribute to the Anna and Tommie L. Robinson Sr. Scholarship Endowment, send a check, with the endowment’s name noted in the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or give online here.

For information on how to support the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, contact Trey Skelton, development associate, at or 662-915-6386.