April 7, 1997

Director of US Dept of Labor's Disability Initiative to Deliver Twilight Lecture at Middlebury College

Rick Douglas, director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Disability Initiative, will give a Twilight Lecture at Middlebury College on Monday, April 28. The talk, "The Last Great Civil Rights Issue: (Dis)Abilities," will be delivered on campus at 4:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Center for the Arts.

The Disability Initiative is designed to enable the department to include people with disabilities into its policies, training programs, enforcement activities and its work force. Previously, Mr. Douglas, a member of the Middlebury Class of '65, served as executive director of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in Washington, D.C., under both the Bush and Clinton administrations. Mr. Douglas was the first person with a disability to serve as the committee's executive director and is the first director of the DOL's Disability Initiative. He also served as Vermont's director of vocational rehabilitation for six years, managing programs that provided vocational counseling and services to Vermonters with disabilities.

A highly regarded speaker, Mr. Douglas has traveled to 49 states, meeting and addressing groups from disability rights coalitions and organizations, universities, government, labor and business. He created a new focus at the committee to help work with the media to educate the public on people with disabilities and employment, and to position the president's committee as a leading resource for media. He has appeared on CBS News, ABC Evening News, Good Morning America, NBC Today, CNN, and other shows. His advocacy for access to commuter aircraft created national media coverage and motivated United Airlines to change its policy to include people with disabilities.

For the Twilight Lecture, Mr. Douglas will discuss a variety of issues from both a personal and professional perspective relating to Civil Rights and disabilities. One area of recent interest is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and the controversy about whether or not FDR should be pictured in his wheelchair.

The Twilight Lecture is free and open to the public. Anyone seeking further information may contact ADA Coordinator Elizabeth Christensen at (802) 443-5851 voice, or (802) 443-7437 TDD.