A History of Firsts

2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Highlights
June 12, 2013

As one of 28 land grant universities selected to participate in the Smithsonian Museum’s 2012 Folklife Festival's celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act,  the University of Illinois highlighted its many seminal contributions to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Illinois faculty, staff and students participated in colloquia, and gave lectures on a myriad of disability-related topics.  Festival visitors to the Illinois pavilion were afforded the opportunity to interact with cutting-edge adaptive technologies, participate in wheelchair sports activities, and learn how Illinois has impacted public policy and perception as it relates to persons with disabilities. Presenters included Dr. Brad Hedrick, who spoke on expanding educational and career opportunities for people with disabilities; Dr. Deana McDonagh, professor of Industrial Design, who discussed empathic design research strategies; Dr. Timothy Nugent, founder and former director of DRES, who shared the history of Illinois’ rehabilitation program; and Jon Gunderson, Coordinator of Accessible Communication and Information Technology at DRES, who participated in a discussion of technology development. A highlight video may be viewed at <http://go.illinois.edu/folklife >.