Granville Kirkup makes a gift to endow stuttering center chair

December 01, 2012
Sidney & Granville Kirkup

As CEO of Irvine-based Telmar Network Technology, Granville Kirkup has proved both talented and exceptional in his business style.

He rarely meets face-to-face with customers nor convenes his staff for brainstorming sessions. He handles all communications by e-mail or fax.

Ironically, Granville attributes his entrepreneurial achievement to the very disability that has pestered him since childhood: stuttering.

“I never went on a job interview, because I knew that I couldn’t handle the verbal questions,” he recalls. “So by default, I have always owned my own business.”

Granville talked fluently until the age of 7, when he developed a stutter. Children teased him, and adults advised him to “slow down” or “take a deep breath.”

Speech therapy was mostly ineffective, so in 1992, he visited UC Irvine stuttering specialist Gerald Maguire.

“He explained to me that stuttering may be caused by an excess of dopamine in the brain,” Granville says. “After a couple of false starts, we found a medication that lessened my stuttering by about 60 percent—a real breakthrough.”

Gratified, Granville made a significant donation to UC Irvine in 1999 to assist Gerald’s work, and in 2006, he and his wife donated another large gift to endow the Kirkup Chair in Psychiatry and Human Behavior for the Treatment of Stuttering.

“Dr. Maguire’s research has great promise for people who stutter,” Granville says. “He has helped many people throughout the world.”

Bill Ross, University Advancement

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