Former First Lady Barbara Bush and NY Times Best-Selling Author John Elder Robison Highlight the Dedication of the Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, John M. O’Quinn Campus
The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, home to The Monarch School, hosted a private dedication for major donors at the new Monarch Institute--John M. O’Quinn Campus on Tuesday, February 18, 2014.
The dedication was highlighted by two very special guest speakers; Honorary Dedication Chair--Former First Lady Barbara Bush, and Keynote Speaker--New York Times Best-selling Author John Elder Robison.
The dedication represents the culmination of a nearly twenty-year vision of Monarch Founder, Dr. Marty Webb. In 1997, what began as The Monarch School, the cornerstone program of the Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, now includes The Monarch Diagnostic Clinic, Therapy Services, Training Center, Transition Services, and Replication. All are part of the new Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, John M. O’Quinn Campus, located on an 11-acre site in the heart of Spring Branch, in Northwest Houston.
Emcee for the dedication was KPRC Channel 2 Anchor Dominique Sachse, who thanked Mrs. Bush for making it an extra special day, and welcomed special guests and public officials.
Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., Rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church led the invocation.
Monarch Board of Trustees Chairman David Matthiesen shared his personal story. Mr. Matthiesen is the proud father of Kate, a Monarch student, who is a resident in the Transitional Living program. Mr. Matthiesen shared his gratitude for all who have supported the Monarch vision and acknowledged the Monarch board members, past and present. He then introduced Monarch Institute and Monarch School Founder, Dr. Marty Webb.
Dr. Webb shared her passion for the Monarch vision and its history. Dr. Webb gave an enthusiastic thanks to “All who had said ‘YES’ all along the way”-- from the Monarch School’s humble beginning in her garage all the way through to the Monarch Institute dedication.
Dr. Webb then introduced Honorary Dedication Chair--Former First Lady Barbara Bush.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush engaged the audience with humor, style and grace. Mrs. Bush spoke of her passion for education and shared her thanks for a School and Institute, in Houston, that helped those with neurological differences. Mrs. Bush then introduced Keynote Speaker and NY Times best-selling author John Elder Robison.
Keynote Speaker John Elder Robison is the author of New York Times best-seller “Look Me in the Eye”, a moving memoir of his life with Asperger’s syndrome. He also wrote “Be Different” and his newest book "Raising Cubby" will be released March 16, 2014.
Mr. Robison is a world-recognized authority on life with autism, and is widely known as an advocate for people with autism and neurological differences. He speaks about being different at schools and conferences all over the country.
He is very active in efforts to support and promote research leading to therapies or treatments that will improve the lives of people who live with autism in all its forms today. Currently, John Elder Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary.
During the dedication, Mr. Robison spoke of his long-time affiliation with the Monarch School, Monarch Institute and Monarch Founder Dr. Marty Webb.
He spoke of Marty Webb’s vision -- a place where kids could feel safe; a place where their talents would be developed and nurtured.
He spoke of his first visit to Monarch in 2007 and how he knew immediately that Monarch was a very special institution.
So special, that Mr. Robison worked with students and staff to develop teaching guides for the books that represented the perspective of students and faculty on the subject of autism.
The audience learned that Mr. Robison applied his extra-ordinary talent to his passion for electronics and music. As a sound engineer he built equipment for the rock band Pink Floyd’s sound company and created the signature special effects guitars for rock band KISS. He went on to design sound effects and other circuits for some of the most popular electronic games and toys of the 1980’s era. The audience also learned of Mr. Robison’s passion for restoring cars. His company, J E Robison Service Co, is one of the largest independent restoration and service specialists for BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce cars. The company has become one of the top-ranked Bosch Car Service centers in North America.
Mr. Robison spoke of his own passions and talent, because he wants students with neurological differences to develop their talents and use them to nurture their passions.
After Mr. Robison gave his Keynote Speech, Dominique Sachse introduced Monarch’s Head of School and Institute, Dr. Debrah Hall, who thanked parents and faculty. Dr. Hall was then joined by Dr. Webb for two special presentations.
Dr. Webb thanked Rose Cullen and Kathy Cullen McCord for their support. A video feed of the Rose Garden, dedicated to Rose Cullen and Kathy Cullen McCord, was show to the audience while Dr. Webb introduced Rob Wilson, President and Trustee of The John M. O'Quinn Foundation.
Mr. Wilson spoke about his friend John M. O'Quinn and the special place Monarch held with Mr. O'Quinn. The guests then watched as several of the founding Monarch School faculty and post graduate students unveiled a bronze statue in honor of John M. O'Quinn in the Rose Garden. The bronze statue bearing the likeness of John M. O'Quinn and two Monarch students was created by sculptor Edd Hayes.
The dedication concluded with Dr. Debrah Hall thanking all for their contributions and attendance.
The dedication of The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences would not have been possible had it not been for the generosity of its major donors.
Monarch would not have its new campus without the $5,000,000 lead gift of the John M. O’Quinn Foundation, or Roy Johnson and MetroNational’s generous gift of a 90-year lease of the 11-acres of land. Click here for the dedication program listing all the major donors who made the Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences possible. Click here to see The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences dedication video.