Every Spartan deserves an equal chance at a fulfilling campus experience, but equally accessible does not mean identical. People come to MSU from all over the world with different passions, goals, and lifestyles. The students and faculty registered with the RCPD are just as diverse. Each individual approaches his or her time at MSU with varying strategies, will encounter separate challenges, and achieves unique success.
For 48 years, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities has been maximizing ability and opportunity for members of the Spartan community and beyond. In February 2020, RCPD was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating decades of creativity supporting community advancement and leadership in the area of diversity. This award was presented to RCPD Director Michael Hudson and staff during the MSU Excellence in Diversity Awards program sponsored by the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.
"The power of the peer voice has a huge impact," says Matt Carbary, Assistive Technology Trainer and STATE program coordinator for the RCPD. For Matt, the seemingly simple commitment to providing others with the opportunities that made a difference in his life led him to become the State of Michigan Student Employee of the Year. He was awarded in April 2010 for his outstanding work and dedication to providing resources to students who need them for academic success.
A collaborative effort between the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, Campus Park and Planning and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber (a civil engineering firm) resulted in MSU's receipt of a daVinci Award in the Personal Mobility category. The award, a large engraved crystal, honors inventions and innovations that improve accessibility for all people regardless of their physical ability.
Spartans in Action
Though disabilities can present challenging situations, they need not limit a person's dreams or accomplishments. The following news stories and video clips capture the ability of individuals with disabilities and show the power of perseverance, courage and a will to succeed.
Watch this comprehensive look into the life of students and graduates who are blind or visually impaired. The RCPD is pleased to host and share this video, which was created in 2020 by student Anna Forest.
As one of over 22 honorees, Kurt Driscoll returned to MSU as 'Outstanding Alum' for his leadership at Faurecia Automotive Seating as validation engineer for safety and regulations. Kurt inspired attendees with a message of the power of persistence, friendship, friendship, creativity and following one's passion to reach life goals. Kurt leveraged academic preparedness with a Bachelor's degree in engineering and a Master's in Business Administration plus his personal experiences with seating (Kurt is a wheelchair user) to become a leader in automotive seating technology.
Watch 2014 Samaritan Scholar Recipient, Jordyn Castor, become "Wall Street Ready" as she transforms a scholarship for the RCPD into career opportunities.
Listen to 2017 Outstanding Alum, Brett Kopf, discuss the story behind his co-founding of Remind, a messaging platform that connects teachers, students, parents and administrators safely over any device.
Watch our 2014 Outstanding Alum, Dr. Daehee Lee, share insights on selecting MSU, moving to America, earning dual advanced degrees and leading in his career.
This oral history segment features an exceptional Spartan and her unparalleled drive for excellence. MSU student Julia Ruggirello shared this speech at the April 2012 Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities' Annual Awards and Appreciation Reception during her acceptance of the Anita Giampalmi Scholarship. Julia is a dynamic young woman with a positive attitude. She pursues her big dreams and refuses to be defined by disability stereotypes.
Aaron Scheidies graduated from MSU in 2004 as a world record setting tri-athlete, Tower Guard participant, and Outstanding Senior Award recipient. Scheidies was also registered with the RCPD as a student who is blind. He never let his visual impairment slow down his success during college, and he has continued to break stereotypes by earning a PhD in physical therapy and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
RCPD Oral Histories
Because no two journeys are the same, RCPD conducted oral history interviews with students, faculty and alumni to best capture their experiences with disability, the RCPD and MSU. An oral history offers people a chance to tell their story their own way. The following video clips are compilations of those interviews. Each voice carries its own life experiences and MSU adventures, but together they echo a larger legacy of success. They demonstrate the capability of individuals with disabilities, the effective services of the RCPD and the infinite possibilities in a world peppered with successful Spartans.
The oral history selections in this series commemorate the RCPD's 40th Anniversary in April 2012. They were produced by MaryKate Carter and debuted at the Annual Awards and Appreciation Reception.
This video segment focuses on the partnerships between Tower Guard, the RCPD and MSU students. It speaks to how education and communication help people better understand the ability of those with disabilities.
This video segment highlights the ability of individuals with disabilities. Though it may sometimes take an adaptation or two, people with disabilities are fully capable of accomplishing whatever they pursue. These stories show how Spartans are accomplishing their dreams.
This video segment demonstrates the usefulness of assistive technology and individualized RCPD services. It focuses on Spartans with disabilities harnessing these resources to more efficiently accomplish their goals.
This video segment offers a window into self-advocacy and shows how Spartans with disabilities pursue and attain success with positive self-awareness.