Gift to Fund Community Voices Clinic

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 10:45am

The gift from Beall Fowler '59 '85P '89P '16GP will support school-based mental health center

Mental health is critical to the success of children and families, and research shows that early intervention is key. An important and very generous multi-year gift to support that intervention was made recently by W. Beall Fowler '59 '85P '89P '16GP to fund the Community Voices Clinic (CVC), a school-based mental health clinic established in 2012 through a partnership between Lehigh University’s counseling psychology program, the Bethlehem Area School District, and Resolve Mental Health Services of Colonial Intermediate Unit 20. The Fowler Fund for the Community Voices Clinic will provide support for the director position and the clinic administered by the dean of the College of Education.

Operating within the family centers at Donegan Elementary and Broughal Middle schools, the clinic is staffed by College of Education graduate students who provide free, culturally responsive therapy services to children, adults, and families who live in South Bethlehem.

“The College of Education is elated and deeply appreciative of Beall Fowler's generous gift,” said William Gaudelli, dean of the College of Education. “The support for counseling needs is a vital resource for this community, and the support of our counseling students and faculty is crucial in their development as well.”

Fowler said the CVC represents a way for him to support an important program in the College of Education that directly impacts students in the Bethlehem Area School District, “where both Lehigh and I live. This program meets a need that is often overlooked – namely, the emotional needs of children who may be living in stressful family or neighborhood situations. I envision that this program, by serving as a model, can lead to Lehigh's becoming an educational leader in this area, allowing its impact to expand well beyond its present state.”

Research shows that student mental health is a powerful predictor not just of academic engagement and outcomes, but life outcomes. By making mental health support and services readily available to children and families in a school environment, the CVC helps prevent and alleviate mental health issues at the earliest stages so that students and the community can thrive.

The CVC has been successful in providing hundreds of hours of free, in-person mental health services to those who would not have had access to therapy otherwise. For Lehigh counseling psychology graduate students, the clinic serves as an important training component to their education. A licensed psychologist, who serves as the clinic director, oversees the doctoral students and all services provided in the CVC.

“Our master's and doctoral students have been passionate about the training they have been able to receive through the Community Voices Clinic because they are deeply committed to serving our community's mental health needs,” said Susan Woodhouse, associate professor of counseling psychology and training director. “They are particularly devoted to the children and teens they serve within the Bethlehem Area School District, along with their families.”

Services include individual, group, and family counseling, psychoeducational groups, workshops and outreach programs, and career counseling.

“Dr. Fowler's generous gift will allow the counseling psychology program to continue to offer solid training to our graduate students while also providing culturally responsive and evidence-based mental health support to youth and families in South Bethlehem,” said Christopher Liang, chair of Lehigh’s department of education and human services and counseling psychology professor. “His support is one integral piece to helping us fill a critical gap in service delivery and will contribute to our local community thriving.”

Fowler is professor emeritus of physics at Lehigh and serves on the College of Education’s dean’s advisory council. He graduated in 1959 with a degree in engineering physics and earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester. He and his late wife, Linny, have been generous benefactors both to Lehigh University and to many charities throughout the Lehigh Valley, particularly those pertaining to youth, community, and the arts.

Written by Cynthia Tintorri

Photo of Raquel Sosa '26, Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, Third Year. Raquel currently works at the CVC.

Photo and edits by Emily VanNostrand, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Education