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Dr. Richard Salvi and Dr. Donald Henderson will receive the Communicator of the Year Award from St. Mary's School for the Deaf at its annual Trustees Awards Dinner tonight in Salvatore's Italian Gardens, Lancaster.

Salvi and Henderson head the University at Buffalo Center for Hearing and Deafness, which has received a $5 million federal grant to study acquired hearing loss. The research will probe the molecular and cellular mechanisms of hearing loss, the effects of noise and drugs, changes in the brain resulting from hearing loss and the role of inner-ear hair cells in hearing loss.

Betsy Smylie will receive posthumously the St. Mary's Award for Dedication and Courage; Patricia Tadak the Alumni Achievement Award; and Denise and Robert Weber the Commitment to Deaf Children Award.

Ms. Smylie initiated a ministry to deaf parishioners of her church that strengthened those individuals' faith and their connection to each other. Ms. Tadak is president of the St. Mary's Alumni Association and a teacher assistant who has given high school students "continuous, guidance, support and encouragement." The Webers will be honored for taking a St. Mary's student into their home as a foster child and eventually adopting her.

Patrick L. Daley and June M. Leffler are co-chairmen of the annual trustees dinner.

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