Hugo Gregory received the first Malcolm Fraser Award for excellence in the field of stuttering at the 4th Annual Leadership Conference of the Special Interest Division on Fluency and Fluency Disorders held in Tucson, Arizona on May 1, 1997. Jane Fraser, daughter of the late Malcolm Fraser and President of the Stuttering Foundation of America (SFA), presented a plaque and $2000 award to Hugo at a special 50th Anniversary celebration of the SFA.
The award commemorates the tireless efforts of Malcolm Fraser, who struggled and overcame the obstacles imposed by his own stuttering and then devoted a large portion of his life energy to improving the lives of those who stutter. He founded the Speech Foundation of America (now the Stuttering Foundation of America), which has been instrumental in educating persons who stutter, the professional community, and the public about the problem of stuttering and its treatment.
Hugo, too, struggled to overcome his own stuttering handicap, and in so doing, distinguished himself as one on the foremost authorities in the world in the field. In the judgment of the Division 4 Awards Committee, Hugo's career as a competent and caring clinician, respected researcher, trusted colleague, and worldwide ambassador for persons who stutter was clearly worthy of the first Malcolm Fraser Award.
After deciding to inaugurate the Malcolm Fraser Award and to underwrite the monetary award itself, the SFA chose to maximize the credibility of the award by removing itself from the selection process. Jane Fraser worked out the details to have Division 4 select the award, dealing primarily with Jennifer Watson, the Steering Committee member appointed to serve as liaison to a new committee. Accordingly, a new Division 4 Awards Committee, composed of Pearl Gordon, Diane Hill, Kay Monkhouse, Michael Sugarman, and Ken St. Louis, was appointed by the Division 4 Steering Committee early in 1997. The Committee worked quickly to establish procedures to evaluate nominees for the Malcolm Fraser Award that involved both a numerical rating and rank-ordering procedure. Committee chair Ken St. Louis stated, "Our advance work was time-consuming and sometimes difficult. We wanted to be sure that only worthy individuals could be selected for the Malcolm Fraser Award and that all nominees would be considered fairly and evenly. The procedures were essential, so that everyone - including those of us on the Committee - would be confident that the selection process could not be influenced by any 'good old boy or girl' network. I feel good about our process and the outcome."