its 2009 annual conference, ICA presented the first-ever Frank
George Westphal Top Student Paper Award, honoring
lifelong learner and Coe College graduate Frank
George Westphal Sr.
Westphal was a strong proponent
of an equal education for all people. Born in 1922, he was raised
in a small farming community in Northern Illinois. He went on to
Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was a starter on the
Coe Basketball team. However, in 1941, he became partially disabled
when his right hand was amputated in an industrial accident. ¡°At
the time, a disabled person was looked upon with revulsion, disgust,
and even superstition,¡± Westphal recalled in a previous interview.
Westphal challenged that notion head on, both in his personal and
professional life. Despite the injury, he continued as a fiery point
guard on the basketball team, graduated from Coe College with a
BA in History, and went on to Northwestern University Law School.
In 1950, after being personally
recruited by Adlai Stevenson, Frank began working for the state
of Illinois in the Vocational Rehabilitation Division. He founded
the Illinois Rehabilitation Association, which exists to find employment
for disabled persons and to help them return to leading productive
lives. His love of learning (and a photographic memory) led him
to a Master¡¯s degree in Guidance and Counseling, a certified diplomat
of the American Psychotherapy Association, a licensed clinical professional
counselor, and a certified social worker. Throughout
his career, Frank helped thousands find jobs and inspired many others
to persevere despite their limitations. After 57 years of service
as a Rehabilitation counselor, he finally retired at the age of
83. Frank Westphal Sr. died in March 2009, leaving behind a legacy
of inspiration and achievement. His quest for education ignited
a spark in his nine children who now have doctorates, masters, and
bachelor degrees. He also made sure that his 47grandchildren and
23 great-grandchildren have funds available for educational purposes.
Because Westphal believed that
education (and knowing how to communicate) was the key to success,
it is most fitting to have established a scholarship fund in his
name at the Iowa Communication Association. Westphal¡¯s daughter
and ICA member Yvonne Fielder will match funds donated to the ICA
scholarship this year, up to $250. To make a donation, contact ICA
Executive Secretary Barb Schmidt.