January 12, 2015

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center celebrates 50 years in 2015

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center will celebrate 50 years of transforming lives in 2015 with lectures by AUCD Executive Director Andrew Imparato and Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver.

Yearlong celebration to include Imparato, Shriver

by Elizabeth Turner

This year, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center celebrates 50 years of transforming the lives of people with disabilities through discovery, service and training.

The yearlong celebration will commence with a lecture by Andrew Imparato, J.D., executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 4 p.m. Imparato will deliver the Kennedy Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture titled “The Future of Disability Policy,” which will be followed by a short reception with cake and punch. More information on this event here.

Andrew Imparato has served as AUCD executive director since September 2013.  As a disability rights lawyer and policy professional with more than two decades of experience in government and advocacy roles, he has worked with bipartisan policymakers to advance disability policy at the national level in the areas of civil rights, workforce development and disability benefits. Prior to coming to AUCD, he was senior counsel and disability policy director for Sen. Tom Harkin on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  Before that, he spent 11 years as president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a national membership organization working to grow the political and economic power of the disability community. Imparato’s perspective is informed by his personal experience with bipolar disorder.

Other special events will be held throughout 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary, including a community-wide celebration featuring Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics International. This and other events will be added to the 50th anniversary webpage and VKC Events Calendar as details are confirmed. For more information about these events or the 50th anniversary of the VKC, call (615) 322-8240.

Additionally, the VKC launched a special website celebrating its golden anniversary, which includes a message from VKC director Elisabeth Dykens, a VKC timeline in the context of the national disability rights movement, and a multimedia and photo gallery. Guests to the site are invited to summarize their experience with disability in just six words or share a personal story about the impact the VKC has had on their lives. Submissions will be posted on the website during the year.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center on Research and Human Development is a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (EKS IDDRC) as well as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDD). VKC staff and researchers are dedicated in serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.