Current Interest: Winning Partnership for Walker Scottish Rite Clinic of St. Louis

Photo: Ill. Bro. Earl Walker and Ill. Bro. Les Denney, the two Scottish Rite masons who spearheaded the founding of the Clinic in the late 1980s. THANKS Gentlemen!

The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders of St. Louis and the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis have entered into a partnership with Missouri college, Maryville University (, to allow all entities to expand their missions.

Maryville University, located in St. Louis County and a leader in occupational, physical, and rehabilitative services education, is planning to expand its academic Health Professions curriculum to include speech and language services and have invited the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders to be a part of this new endeavor.

Thanks to Earl and Myrtle Walker and other donors, a new Health Professions building will be built at Maryville University to house its School of Health Professions. Upon completion of this building, the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic will expand its headquarters into “Walker Hall” on the University campus. The anticipated opening will be sometime in 2013. Until that time, the Clinic will continue all normal operations at the Olive Street site in the Scottish Rite Cathedral, at the two Head Start locations in St. Louis City, and at the outreach sites in Crystal City, Elsberry, and Union, Missouri. The clinic will continue serving these same areas once the expanded site in Walker Hall is open. All services will remain free.

Earl and Myrtle Walker and Ill. Robert Cockerham, SGIG in Missouri, have been working with Maryville University President Dr. Mark Lombardi and his staff, for several months to finalize this unique opportunity for the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic. Other Rite Care clinics across the country have affiliations with professional partners such as local hospitals or universities who offer speech and language services. This new partnership allows the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic to have access to professional advisors, updated facilities, expanded space, and cutting-edge technologies while the clinic can provide an optimal setting for Maryville students to have first-rate speech and language practicums.

Some high points of this partnership include the following:

Expanded Services for the Children

Due to this expansion to Maryville University, the children in therapy—as diagnostically needed—will have access to Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Music Therapy—all to enhance and enrich their Speech and Language Therapy. In the coming years, we anticipate being able to serve even more children as a result of this partnership.

Mission, Funding, and Charitable Status

The clinic is currently a 501(c)(3) charity and, once partnered with the University, will retain its charitable status. Protecting the mission of the clinic includes providing free services for children and retaining the need for fundraising through special events, individual giving, grant writing, and Legacy giving. The clinic will continue to pursue the grants that currently support us. In addition, through Maryville University, the Clinic will be included in larger, more comprehensive grant funding opportunities that do not exist for smaller independent clinics.

This new partnership allows the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic to continue its mission, program sites, and free services to children, ages two to six, with speech and language challenges while it expands collaborative health services and increases its abilities to offer training opportunities to students. The Scottish Rite will gain additional exposure and visibility and can take great pride that the clinic they created will now become a model learning environment. And Maryville University will have a first-class, mature clinic on site to accommodate students and enhance their School of Health Professions.

For more information about the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic and this new initiative, please log on to or
Submitted by Sheri Mistretta Clinic Executive Director