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University of Houston - Clear Lake
Simmons Foundation honored by UHCL
News Release
Monday, April 11, 2011

University of Houston-Clear Lake community friends and alumni gathered in March at Lakewood Yacht Club as UH-Clear Lake President William A. Staples presented his 2011 Report to the Community. In addition to discussing major university initiatives, he also presented the 2011 Community Partnership Award to The Simmons Foundation.

“As we look back over the past year at UH-Clear Lake, a number of significant milestones were reached,” said Staples.

He discussed the opening of the UH-Clear Lake Pearland Campus in fall 2010 as well as the record-setting enrollment of 8,099 students during the same semester. Other important announcements included the renovation and expansion of the university’s Arbor Building, the oldest building on campus, and the qualifying of UH-Clear Lake as a Hispanic Serving Institution. Finally, Staples discussed downward expansion and the budget difficulties facing state institutions.

“UH-Clear Lake is one of the last remaining upper-level universities not just in Texas but in the U.S.,” said Staples, who added that presentations to the state legislature were ongoing.

He spoke of the importance of partnerships before presenting the 2011 Community Partnership Award to The Simmons Foundation for “their sustaining support of graduate student staff members for the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Applied Behavior Analysis-Skills Intervention Program.”

Other speakers included CADD Director and Professor of Psychology Dorothea Lerman, UH-Clear Lake Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis alumnus Daniel LeSage, and a parent whose child received services at the center, Kim Dixon.

“One in 110 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder,” said Lerman.

Explaining the inability for the center to financially provide the services requested by families in the community, Lerman thanked The Simmons Foundation.

“With more than 100 children on the waiting list, it was clear we needed additional support – that is when The Simmons Foundation stepped in,” said Lerman. “Their support over the past two years has enabled six additional children to receive this behavior therapy.”

LeSage discussed his work for CADD while pursuing his master’s degree in behavior analysis. He stated that while at the center, he had “the honor and privilege of seeing the children progress.” He also thanked The Simmons Foundation for supporting the center.

Dixon stirred the audience’s emotions when she spoke about her participation with the center since the diagnosis of her son with autism.

“I received information about the Applied Behavior Analysis – Skills Intervention Program for children with autism and then began my desperate calls,” said Dixon.

She explained that there was a waiting list, but eventually, they called with an open spot. She spoke of the success of her son and how excited they all were when his 12 weeks with the program was extended to 24 weeks.

“The Dixon Family believes that 24 weeks has given us a lifetime,” said Dixon.

Founded in 1993 by Ola and L.B. Simmons’ granddaughter as a tribute to her grandparents lifelong dedication to the betterment of the community in which they lived, The Simmons Foundation has committed more than $20 million in grants predominantly in Harris and surrounding counties. The foundation’s mission is to invest in the community so lives can be improved by helping people help themselves.

Sponsors for the event included Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, JSC Federal Credit Union, The Parish School and Clear Lake Flowers.

Staples concluded his presentation with words of thanks.

 “Thank you for your ongoing support of UH-Clear Lake and your life-changing investments in our students, faculty, academic programs and our community.”

To find out more about UH-Clear Lake’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, visit Finally, for more information about the university, visit

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