University of Utah communications student Terry Birch, West Valley City, received a $1,500 Spear scholarship.
Birch, who has severe hearing loss and visual impairment, is the first recipient of the scholarship, recently established by Dr. Dean Spear and his wife, the late Betty Spear, for a high-achieving hearing-impaired student studying at a regular university.With their own children having severe to profound hearing losses, the Spears were instrumental in establishing an oral school for hearing-impaired children in Utah, and they pioneered mainstreaming such students in the state's public classrooms.
All three of the Spear children graduated from regular colleges; two have received advanced degrees.
Birch, who is a son of Cecil and Joyce Birch, received an associate degree from Salt Lake Community College where he was active in student affairs. He is a communications major and is completing his junior year at the U. of U., where he was a copy editor on the Chronicle staff. He served a mission in the Midwest for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Spear scholarship is administered through the Utah Chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, which annually presents scholarships and awards to outstanding hearing-impaired high school and college students.