Larry Small

Larry Small earned his doctoral degree in speech and hearing sciences at OHIO in 1984.

Photo courtesy of: Larry Small

Larry Small

Cover of the 3rd edition of Small's textbook on phonetics. The fourth edition will be released in 2015.

Graphic courtesy of: Pearson Publishing, copyright 2012

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One gift establishes scholarship and recognizes alumnus’ OHIO mentor


Sometimes when you least expect it, you become the first to do something unique. Larry Small became such a person. He established the Larry H. Small Audiology Scholarship in the College of Health Sciences and Profession’s (CHSP) School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences, the first scholarship at OHIO specifically for students headed for their first year in OHIO’s doctorate of audiology program. But for Small, who earned his doctoral degree in speech and hearing sciences at OHIO in 1984, being the first to formally support these students wasn’t his main motivation. His gift is more about honoring a former OHIO faculty member and mentor, and to pay back his alma mater for his successful career.

Small was Zinny S. Bond’s teaching assistant when he was a doctoral candidate at OHIO. Bond worked in the University’s School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences and later in the Department of Linguistics. A mutual respect for one another formed.  “She is a good mentor and friend,” Small said. After earning his degree, Small joined the faculty at Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) Department of Communication Disorders. He retired in 2008. Today, the connection between Bond and Small continues: They both teach as adjunct professors at Ohio State University.

Small’s area of expertise is acoustic phonetics and speech perception. He is interested in how the brain processes speech, especially how listeners are able to pay attention to, and make sense of, an incoming speech signal. During his 30-year career, Small has taught undergraduate and graduate students in phonetics, hearing science, diagnostic audiology and aural rehabilitation. He served as department chair of BGSU’s Department of Communication Disorders from 2004-2008 and directed its University Honors Program from 1991 to 1996. He recently was named a 2014 fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Writing the book on phonetics

In the mid-1990s, Small lamented the lack of quality instructional phonetics textbooks. So, in 1996, as part of a faculty improvement leave, Small became a visiting professor at OHIO to teach and write a textbook that would fill this gap. Fundamentals of Phonetics: a Practical Guide for Students was published in 1999 and the fourth edition of the popular textbook will be released in 2015.

Small says Bond and Ohio University played a major role in his success both as a teacher and a writer.  

“I never would have become interested in phonetics had I not gone to Ohio University and worked with Bond,” he said. Establishing the Larry H. Small Audiology Scholarship is his way of recognizing this contribution and  “my way of giving back to OHIO,” he said.

Small also has given his time and expertise to OHIO. He has worked with Ohio University Alumni Association’s Speech and Hearing Advisory Council Committee for several years, helping to organize the College of Health Sciences and Profession’s 75th Anniversary celebration in 2012. Also, he currently serves on the dean’s advisory board for the College.

“Larry has been a wonderful friend and supporter of our Communication Sciences and Disorders program,” said Dr. Randy Leite, dean of CHSP. “He has had a wonderful career as a teacher, researcher, and leader in audiology and we are all greatly honored that he has chosen to support today’s students in their education.”

Small’s gift is part of the Ohio University’s The Promise Lives Campaign, which topped its $450 million goal in April 2014—14 months ahead of the June 30, 2015, deadline. Already securing more than $474.5 million, the Campaign continues to raise funds in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. 

Established in 1945 by OHIO President John C. Baker, The Ohio University Foundation is the fundraising unit responsible for raising, investing and disbursing funds in support of the OHIO educational mission. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax exempt, 501c(3) organization, and is the repository for all private gifts to the University through annual giving programs, capital and special campaigns, and planned or deferred gifts.