Klonda Lynn

Areas of Achievement: 
Education, Higher Education

Klonda Lynn was the second person to serve as Head of the Department of Speech, serving in that role from 1953 to 1964. Her leadership and vision of the future led to the creation of two nationally-ranked academic programs: The Department of Communication in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences in the College of Science.

Born in Linton, North Dakota, Klonda said that her unusual name was given to her because she was born during the Klondike Gold Rush and her father said that, for him, her birth (21 Jun 1898) was a wonderful as making a strike in the Klondike.

She attended Lawrence College Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin, 1916-1918, receiving her certification in Piano and as a Public School Music Teacher. She went on to the University of North Dakota, receiving her B.A. degree in 1920. Klonda moved to Boston and attended Emerson College from 1920-1922, receiving a Bachelor of Literary Interpretation in 1922.

Dr. Lynn then taught at the Oklahoma College for Women for one year, 1923-1924. That institution is located in Chickasha, OK and was one of only seven public institutions that were created to provide educational opportunities exclusively for women. She moved on to Boston University, where she received an M.A. with a major in Expression in 1926 while simultaneously teaching at Emerson College.

She left Boston for Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University in 1928. Her service at NAU continued for 17 years. Dr. Lynn studied at Louisiana State University while teaching at NAU, receiving her Ph.D. in 1940. When she joined the University of Arizona faculty in 1945, she was the first faculty member in the relatively new Department of Speech to hold a Ph.D. degree. She taught phonetics and public speaking as part of the core curriculum in the Department of Speech and became the Department Head in 1953. Under her leadership, the department began to offer a M.A. program in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The Department of Speech grew significantly in the next decade, adding faculty and academic courses to meet core requirements for undergraduates and graduates in speech communication, interpretive theatre, speech and hearing science, and speech and hearing disorders. She had the foresight to hire two faculty members who held Ph.D. degrees in the relatively new field of communications disorders: Dr. Gene England in speech pathology and Dr. Paul Skinner in audiology.

Dr. Lynn retired from administrative responsibilities in 1964 and returned to teaching on a full time basis. She was a founding member of the Speech Association of America and the Arizona Speech and Hearing Association. She held the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Pathology from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association and served as Arizona State president of the American Association of University Women. She continued to teach until retiring in January, 1973.

A note in the University of Arizona Faculty/Staff Newsletter from December 1972 quotes Frank LaBan, Head of Speech in 1972, as saying “She probably has taught more people in the State of Arizona than any other person.”

Information submitted by Theodore Glattke (B.A., Speech, 1962), Professor Emeritus, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.