As an undergraduate Walter Beaupre worked his way through Bates College in various jobs, settling eventually for radio broadcasting. He took a hefty salary cut in 1948 to begin a new career in teaching at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. While at Moravian he completed a Masters Degree at Lehigh University in English and Speech. His teaching/directing career was put on hold temporarily when in 1953 Walter was stricken with polio. During months of rehabilitation he saw what was being done for the speech and hearing handicapped and begin to question his career goals again. By 1957 he was commuting after classes at Moravian to Columbia University to study speech pathology and audiology. Two years later he took a teaching position at Columbia while completing his residency requirement for a doctorate.
Armed with a Ph.D., a wife and a son he headed west to Omaha to establish speech and hearing degree programs at Omaha University. As Chairman of the Department of Special Education he was instrumental in restructuring the program in Deaf Education as well as establishing graduate programs in Reading and Mental Retardation. In the summer of 1966 he sent a graduate student (who was also a signing teacher of the Deaf) to a workshop at Gallaudet College to learn about a new approach to communication with the Deaf called "Cued Speech." The report of the grad student was not enthusiastic.
In 1968 Dr. Beaupre accepted a challenge to build graduate programs in Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Rhode Island where he taught courses in phonetics, voice disorders, alaryngeal speech, and gestural communication -- with clinical supervision duties and a Federal grant to establish communication services in six retardation centers on the side!
During the 1974-75 academic year he went on sabbatical leave to Gallaudet College where he researched clinical methods for improving voice/speech instruction for the Deaf. While living with Gallaudet "prep" students he took a refresher course in American Sign Language and studied Cued Speech with its inventor, Dr. R. Orin Cornett. Fascinated by what he saw being done with Cued Speech for deaf children in inner-city London, Beaupre became convinced that CS was a communication tool to be taken seriously. Upon returning to the classroom he immediately restructured the phonetics course so that all students were introduced to the sounds of American English through learning to cue. During the next 20 years more than a thousand URI undergraduate majors in Communicative Disorders achieved at least minimal mastery of CS. In the process Beaupre conducted research to determine what the most frequent problems were for adults trying to master the system of hand cues. Out of that formal research and informal teaching experiences came this manual, first published in 1984 .When the National Cued Speech Association was formed, he served as editor of the first issues of the Cued Speech Annual and his wife Kathryn was editor of Cued Speech News for two years.
Dr. Beaupre retired from the University of Rhode Island after 47 years of college teaching in 1995 -- only to begin a new career of writing for the Internet. He pioneered home pages for most departments in the College of Human Science and Services; then went on to develop and maintain a web site for the URI Varsity Swimming and Diving Teams. His hobbies -- when he has time for them -- are genealogy, theatre organs of the silent movie days, and collecting oldtime radio shows. To date he has published ten Web articles on oldtime radio. He swims laps a half mile every day and studies jazz piano, a lifetime pursuit.
Professor Emeritus Beaupre lives with his wife of 38 years in Matunuck, Rhode Island. They have one son Laurier who stays in touch via e-mail. Should you wish to get in touch via e-mail, click here.