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University announces ADA Access Honor Roll Award recipients


BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2008 – Members of Virginia Tech's faculty and staff and a Virginia Tech student were presented with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Honor Roll Awards on Monday Oct. 20 at the Disability Awareness Reception held in the Torgerson Museum Room on the university's Blacksburg campus.

The ADA Access Honor Roll Award Program recognizes the contributions of any faculty or staff toward improving accessibility for people with disabilities. The award program provides an opportunity to raise awareness of accessibility issues and highlight specific efforts that demonstrate the university’s commitment to accessibility.

Members of Virginia Tech’s teaching faculty, Martha Ann Bell, associate professor of psychology; and Craig Brians, associate professor of political science, received awards recognizing their achievements in providing an accessible and accommodating environment for students with disabilities.

The award program presented awards to staff members, Ken Belcher, associate director of occupancy for the university’s housing office; Kelvin Bergsten, unit manager of Dietrick Dining Center; David Bingham, ADA access architect; and Dale Robinson, conflict resolution program manager for the Office for Equal Opportunity. The award recognizes staff members’ achievements in providing an accessible and accommodating environment for students and employees with disabilities.

Vicki Arbuckle, psychiatric nurse practitioner for Cook Counseling Center; Cathy Barker, program support technician for the College of Natural Resources; Pam Little, administrative assistant for Services for Students with Disabilities; Deborah Smith, academic coach for Services for Students with Disabilities; Jody Thompson, assistant director for College Transition Programs; and Peggy Weiss, learning specialist for Student Athlete Academic Support Services received faculty awards that recognize their achievements in providing an accessible and accommodating environment for persons with disabilities.

Ellen Bielema was awarded as a student who has gone beyond the expected and taken a leadership role in providing accessibility or accommodations to persons with disabilities.

This year’s Outreach Award went to Kevin McDonald, vice president for equity and inclusion. The award recognized McDonald for his outreach and services to provide an accommodating environment for students and employees at Virginia Tech.

Courtney Haynes of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was presented with the Research Award, recognizing her research accomplishments in leading to a more accessible and accommodating environment.

ADA Executive Committee awards went to Tom Gabbard, associate director of athletics for internal affairs; Sarah Owen, industrial hygienist for environment, health, and safety services; and Russ Whitenack, director of the Monogram Club for the Athletic Department.

The ADA Executive Committee award recognizes individuals who assist in accomplishing the ADA Executive Committee mission to assist the university in meeting the challenges of the ADA implementation; provide assistance in the form of a resource network and a problem-solving group; assist in defining the university vision; identify funding sources; provide appropriate training on disability issues; and identify and form solutions for all program and physical access problem areas.

The ADA Access Honor Roll Award Program is jointly sponsored by Virginia Tech Human Resources, University ADA Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, Office for Equity and Inclusion, Assistive Technologies, and the Southwest Virginia Assistive Technology System.