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Charleen Bloom in 1974

Sister Charleen Bloom, CSJ, in 1974

One night a year, individuals who stutter stand before a group of people to explain how Sister Charleen Bloom and her students gave them the courage and the skills to address them. The occasion is the intensive weekend workshop, Saint Rose Council for Effective Communication and Weekend Workshop for People Who Stutter, she started at Saint Rose in the mid-1970s.

“When the (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) site visitors were here … they would say, ‘I have never seen this before. That is groundbreaking,’ and it was something that Char did 20 years ago,”said Dr. Dave DeBonis, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Saint Rose and one of Bloom’s former students. “We would laugh.”

Bloom came to Saint Rose to study education and soon became inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She left the College following her sophomore year to enter the CSJ community, and, after taking her vows, she completed her undergraduate degree at Saint Rose.

She earned advanced degrees in communication disorders: a master’s degree from The Catholic University in 1967, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1970.

Bloom joined the Saint Rose faculty in 1970 and went on to establish, lead, and gain accreditation for the College’s renowned five-year program in communication sciences and disorders. As a result, scores of graduates have gone on to serve those in need as speech, language and hearing pathologists. She also advocated for the Pauline K. Winkler Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, a vibrant center on campus where students gain practical experience with a large variety of clients. She also founded the Saint Rose Student Speech and Hearing Association.

Sister Charleen Bloom receiving the Carondelet Medal at commencement in 2017

Sister Charleen Bloom receiving the Carondelet Medal at commencement in 2017

Bloom was the author of two books and numerous articles and book chapters, presented at conferences worldwide, and was a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Among her many honors, she was named among the Capital Region Chamber’s Women of Excellence in 2011. An author, speaker, educator, and innovator, Bloom not only shaped the education of countless students but influenced researchers and practitioners throughout the speech-language pathology landscape.

As she helped move the Saint Rose program into national prominence, Bloom also earned a Master of Social Work, believing she needed to learn more about the clients and families she worked with. As a result, she added a required counseling course to the Saint Rose communication sciences and disorders curriculum.

After retiring in 2012 at the age of 77, she studied the cognitive wellness of retired Sisters of St. Joseph. Even then, people on campus continued to see CSD as her program, and she was awarded the College’s highest honor, the Carondelet Medal, in 2017.

“She is a combination of gentle and strong,” DeBonis said shortly before Bloom’s passing in 2019 at age 83. “She is a true humanist; her spirituality shapes her life. She also knows how to use her gentleness.”