The Barkley Memorial Center

The Barkley Memorial Center on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is named in memory of William E. and Edna M. Barkley.

The Barkleys established a trust to support making the University of Nebraska-Lincoln a center for the preparation of teachers and other professionals to educate children and adults with speech and hearing disabilities. Money from the Trust allowed construction of the Barkley Memorial Center to house academic programs in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, and Special Education. The Trust also supports services for individuals with speech and hearing impairments.

photo of barkley

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders is housed in this fine facility. It is a modern 52,000 square foot barrier-free building that was built in two stages. The first stage (34,000 square feet) was dedicated in September of 1976 and the second stage (an 18,000 square foot addition) was dedicated in April of 1986. A third addition on the north side of the building was completed in 2001.

Wm Barkley photo

William E. Barkley

William E. Barkley, a native of Indiana, was a graduate of the Stanberry Normal School in Missouri and taught there for five years before coming to Lincoln in 1888 to take a job as a bookkeeper with the First National Bank. His accomplishments and successes as a banker and insurance executive were closely linked with the city of Lincoln and the State of Nebraska. He advanced rapidly in the banking business and eventually organized and headed several firms.

At the time of his death William Barkley was president of the Lincoln Joint Stock Land Bank-which he had guided through the depression years-the Union Bank at College View, and the Union National Life Insurance Company; he was vice president of the Joint Stock Land Bank at Fremont. He also served 17 years on the Lincoln General Hospital Board.

Edna Barkley photo

Edna M. Barkley

Edna M. McDowell came to Lincoln in the late 1800s as a high school teacher, and also served one year as principal of Elliott School before her marriage to William E. Barkley. She served as Dean of Women at the University of Nebraska for six years. She actively supported services for the handicapped and helped to found Goodwill Industries in Lincoln.

In middle age, when her hearing began to fail, Mrs. Barkley became intensely interested in instructional methods for persons suffering from hearing loss and speech difficulties. Mrs. Barkley sought assistance for her hearing disability from Dr. Dean Worcester, chairperson of the Department of Educational Psychology and Measurements, and Dr. LeRoy Laase, chairperson of the Department of Speech and director of the Speech Clinic. Dr. Marshall Hiskey, director of the Educational Psychological Clinic and Coordinator of Special Education, and Lucille Cypreansen, professor of Speech Pathology and supervisor of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, worked with Mrs. Barkley in her study of lipreading.