Who's Who: George S. Osborne
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Who's Who: George S. Osborne

In Memory of George S. Osborne (1940-2007),
Founding Dean of the Salus University College of Audiology

George S. Osborne, PhD, DDS was indefatigable in his efforts to ensure that audiologists would achieve the recognition among healthcare professionals they deserved.

Dr. George OsborneDr. Osborne was one of the nation’s first private practitioners of audiology and throughout his career he continued to immerse himself in extensive clinical service and training. In 2000, he became the founding dean of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) School of Audiology. It was here that Dr. Osborne created “AuDonline,” a robust and comprehensive distance education (online) program designed specifically as a bridge to the new Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree for licensed, practicing audiologists. The PCO School of Audiology was one of only five schools nationwide approved for such a program and set the standard for AuD degree bridge programs.   

Dr. Osborne knew that a clinical component was essential for students of the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program and he established a rigorous curriculum including a strong biomedical component, based on the new biomedical sciences program within PCO. Dr. Osborne not only set the standard for the Doctor of Audiology degree at PCO, but he also set the standard for the profession as a whole.

In November 2004, Dr. Osborne proudly presided over the opening of the Pennsylvania Ear Institute just in time to welcome the first four-year, on-campus class of AuD students to this new facility. From then on and still today, audiology students have had an on-campus clinical facility where they could learn patient care under the guidance of experienced audiology faculty.  

group photo at PEI Opening
It was true that Dr. Osborne had a passion not just for the profession of audiology, but also for piloting aircrafts. You would be impressed to know that Dr. Osborne was an avid and accomplished pilot who built and flew an experimental seaplane, the “Seawind.” This was a three-year project that led to his winning of the prestigious Lindy Award in Oshkosh, Wis.  in 2004. Also on the Seawind, Dr. Osborne and his wife Joan won a cross-country race commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers. Dr. Osborne’s evident enthusiasm for flying and brimful pride for his plane was contagious and well known to everyone who knew him.

Dr. Osborne with AuD ClassOn June 14, 2007, family, friends, former students, and the community at PCO encountered a formidable loss. A month after Dr. Osborne presided over the commencement of the first four-year class of AuD graduates; he unexpectedly passed away at the age of 66. His death was mourned throughout the profession of audiology, to which he had given so much of his time and effort. Even after death, Dr. Osborne’s passion for audiology and dedication to his students continued to elevate the profession. When PCO established Salus University on July 1, 2008, the PCO School of Audiology was renamed the George S. Osborne College of Audiology in his memory.

Mrs. Osborne Accepting DegreesHis bridge program for licensed, practicing audiologists concluded in 2010, with commencement bringing the total of its graduates to more than 2,100. This meant that more than an astounding 23% of all audiologists in the country were Salus graduates. The bridge program was then reopened in 2012, using the same model, but now with an emphasis on AuD education for international audiologists. Additionally, the audiology profession’s goal of achieving a threshold of 50% AuD holders among its practitioners was met at that time.

In May 2010, Dr. Osborne was honored posthumously by Salus University, at the last commencement for the AuD bridge program, with a presentation of an honorary Doctor of Audiology degree.  The award was accepted by his wife, Joan Osborne. In November 2014, Dr. Osborne was honored by the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) at their annual meeting. The organization presented the David P. Goldstein Outstanding Audiologist Award posthumously to George S. Osborne, PhD, DDS “for promoting audiology’s transformation to a doctoral degree with the AuD as its distinctive designator.” The award was accepted by former dean Dr. Victor Bray of the University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA).

Dr. Osborne on benchSince its founding, thousands of students have completed their Doctor of Audiology studies at the PCO School of Audiology and now in the University’s Osborne College of Audiology. All of the graduates who had spoken to, if not met, Dr. George Osborne at some point in their academic career, considered him a teacher, mentor, friend, and motivator. All of the faculty who knew Dr. George Osborne speak of his profound goodwill, light-heartedness, and love for his profession. Celebrated throughout audiology for his tenacity and courage in elevating the standards of the profession, Dr. Osborne’s vision and humor has made him a well-known figure both nationally and internationally.