1998 Middlebury College Twilight Scholar: Activist
and Comedian Henry Holden

Activist and comedian Henry
Holden, Middlebury College’s 1998 Twilight Scholar, will make
a two-day visit to campus on March 16 and March 17, where he will
meet students, faculty and staff to discuss attitudes within the
entertainment and media industries toward people with disabilities,
and to explore how those attitudes influence public perceptions.
At 9 p.m. on Monday, March 16, Holden will perform a comedic routine
titled “God Walks on Crutches” at the Middlebury College
McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road, off South Main Street
(Route 30). On Tuesday, March 17, he will give a slide and lecture
presentation, “The Misconceptions Continue: How the Media
Represents People with Disabilities,” at 4:15 p.m. in the
Coltrane Lounge in Middlebury College’s Adirondack House, off
College Street (Route 125). Both events are free and open to the

A comedian who is also an actor, activist,
and athlete, Holden contracted polio at the age of four during
the 1952 national polio epidemic. Yet, wearing braces and crutches
has never stopped him from pursuing his dream of acting. Holden
has broken new ground by appearing in prime-time programming not
specifically calling for an actor with a disability. He has acted
on numerous television shows, including “T.J. Hooker,”
“Hill Street Blues” and “Knot’s Landing.”

As an activist, he founded Disability
in Media Everywhere (DIME) in an effort to eliminate the negative
portrayals in the media of people with disabilities. Seeking to
include persons with disabilities in television programming and
advertisements, Holden has appeared on shows ranging from “Today”
and “Entertainment Tonight” to numerous local news shows.

His unquenchable thirst for sport has
resulted in countless athletic adventures, including certification
for scuba diving, riding at the National Horse Show at Madison
Square Garden, skiing in Colorado, and finishing the Los Angeles

Launched in 1995, the Twilight Program
at Middlebury College was named in honor of Alexander Twilight,
an African-American who graduated from the College in 1823. Historians
believe Twilight was the first African-American to earn a degree
from an American college or university. “The idea for the
program came from faculty and others interested in enhancing the
diversity of our faculty, and expanding our curricular offerings,”
said Leroy Nesbitt, special assistant to the president of the

For more information about Holden’s
visit to campus, please contact Elizabeth Christensen, Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, at 802-443-5851.