HAPPI Foundation Endows $25,000 in Honor of Alumna

The Robin Shari Parker HAPPI Foundation, Inc. recently endowed a gift of $25,000 at the School of Communication Science & Disorders at the College of Communication & Information, in memory of Dr. Robin Shari Parker, 1986 M.S. Communication Science & Disorders alumna.

Dr. Robin Shari Parker headshotDr. Robin Parker was a talented and highly respected speech-language pathologist, known for her expertise in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Parker spent her career working as a speech-language pathologist and later as a professor of graduate-level classes at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She joined the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities as the Counseling Director and spent many years sharing her passion for ASD with her students.

On July 16, 2014, at the age of 50, Dr. Parker lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer. The Robin Shari Parker HAPPI Foundation (Helping Autistic and Pancreatic Patients Internationally) was founded in her memory to continue the legacy of her work. HAPPI’s mission is to “improve the health and lives of individuals and families affected by autism spectrum and related social-communication disorders, continuing the life-long work of Dr. Robin Parker,” says the website. HAPPI also strives “to bring awareness to our quest for a cure for the disease which sadly ceased Dr. Parker’s extraordinary work in the hope that others will live and continue to bring good to the world in the spirit of Dr. Robin Parker.”

The endowment will provide scholarships for graduate students in the Speech-Language Pathology program with priority given to students with an interest in treating autism spectrum disorders, and who have academic merit and financial need. Through this endowment, HAPPI hopes to bring awareness to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and to continue the legacy of Dr. Parker’s incredible and inspiring work with ASD.