Obama Appointee to Speak at The University of Scranton

Sep 8, 2010

    The Honorable Lynnae M. Ruttledge, commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, heads the list of keynote speakers at The University of Scranton’s ninth annual Northeastern U.S. Conference on disAbility on Oct. 6, which will review and celebrate the accomplishments of the ADA after 20 years. Appointed by President Barack Obama, Commissioner Ruttledge administers a public/private partnership that annually serves one million individuals with disabilities and places in employment almost 200,000 on a budget of $3 billion.

     Andrew J. Imparato, John Hockenberry and Kathleen West-Evans join Commissioner Ruttledge as keynote speakers at the Conference, which will include sessions on a range of issues for people with disabilities including health and wellness, psychological, social, vocational, and educational.

     Andrew J. Imparato is the first full-time president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a national non-profit, non-partisan membership organization of people with disabilities, their family members and supporters that was founded in 1995. Since Imparato joined the AAPD in 1999, the organization has more than quadrupled its membership, annual budget and staff. With more than 100,000 members, AAPD is the largest cross-disability membership organization in the U.S.

      A nationally recognized journalist, John Hockenberry has worked in all aspects of the broadcast profession for a quarter century. His distinguished career has produced important coverage and numerous awards, as well as initiated important new styles of storytelling embracing all of the new media that are currently transforming the profession. As correspondent and anchor for NBC News/MSNBC from 1996 to 2005, Hockenberry was awarded three Emmys; designed and anchored the MSNBC program, Edgewise; and participated in NBC’s coverage of major global events including September 11th and the Iraq War. He has written a novel and a memoir, articles for major newspapers and magazines, and an off-Broadway show. Currently, he is co-host of The Takeaway, a national morning news program co-produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International.

     Kathleen West-Evans, director of Business Relations for the National Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), will speak about The Rehabilitation Act and The ADA: Landmark Legislation Supporting the Employment of Americans With Disabilities. She is the founder and lead staff person for development of the NET: National Employment Team, which serves business customers, VR consumers with disabilities and the 80 state vocational rehabilitation agencies.

     The Conference, titled “Celebrate the Evolution: The ADA at 20 Years,” is being presented by The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies and the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Endowment. Honorary chairpersons are Edward R. Leahy ’68, H’01 and Patricia Leahy, director of Governmental Affairs for the National Rehabilitation Association.

     In addition to the speakers, a series of cultural events planned during the day include a musical performance by Scott Key, artwork by Verve Vertu and Matthew Mroz, and a wheelchair-accessible model train layout.

     The conference fee includes a continental breakfast and awards luncheon. John Hockenberry’s presentation, which begins at 4 p.m. in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center, is free of charge and open to the public.
For additional information or to register for the conference, visit www.scranton.edu/disabilityconference.

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