Today's Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) was created during the 1971-72 academic year as MSU's response for equal access to a university education for all students. Judy Taylor Gentile served for over 20 years as the first director of the Office of Programs for Handicapper Students (OPHS). The Tower Guard Honor Society read textbooks and classroom materials to blind students beginning in the early 1930s. Assistive technologies were introduced to students and the greater university community as they became available.

Over the years, the foundational services for students with mobility and visual disabilities expanded to include services for students who were deaf or hard of hearing, those with learning disabilities, brain injuries, psychiatric and various chronic health conditions. In 1998, the mission of the department broadened to include services for MSU employees with disabilities. In July of 1999, the name of the office changed to the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), reflecting the expanded mission, a change in state and national terminology, and new "person-first" language.