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Students and Faculty Honored at End of Disability Awareness Month

RELEASED: Nov. 12, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — Several University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students and faculty members received scholarships and awards at an Oct. 29 Disability Awareness Month reception.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor declared October to be National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Junior Kansas Romportl, a Spanish major from Rice Lake, received a $700 Barbara J. Brenner Tremble Memorial Scholarship, made available to a student with a physical disability, with preference given to students with cystic fibrosis. Applicants must be in good academic standing or admitted with full standing. Preference also is given to juniors or seniors and to students with demonstrated financial need.

John Tremble of St. Paul, Minn., created the scholarship in memory of his wife, Barbara, a 1984 UW-Eau Claire nursing graduate. Following graduation, she was a medical-surgical nurse at Metropolitan Medical Center in Minneapolis. She worked closely with the director of cystic fibrosis research at the University of Minnesota on personal medical treatment and the center's research efforts. She died in 1988 following a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.

Senior Marna Hadler, a special education major from Goodhue, Minn., and junior Timothy Lauer, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Whitewater and president of Student Senate, received the Robert R. Southard Memorial Scholarship for fall 2008 ($250 is awarded to a student with a disability and $250 to the Student Senate president). The scholarship is available for a student with a physical disability who is of junior or senior status, has a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and can demonstrate university or community service.

Robert R. Southard, a1958 graduate, became a quadriplegic in 1954 as a result of a diving accident. In the summer of 1956, he became the first student to attend UW-Eau Claire in a wheelchair. He was involved in student government and in 1957 was elected president. He helped found a shelter for the handicapped, now known as the L.E. Phillips Career Development Center, serving as its board president and executive director. He also founded Par-Te-Rec, a recreational organization for individuals with disabilities in Eau Claire, now run by the city Parks and Recreation department. In 1962, he was honored by the State of Wisconsin as Handicapped Man of the Year. His family created the memorial scholarship to reward student community involvement and academic success.

Students with disabilities are invited each year to nominate a university employee who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring the educational environment is accessible for students with disabilities. In their nomination, students are asked to provide insight into how the nominee reached out to students with disabilities in unique, caring and/or creative ways. The recipients were announced at the spring 2008 Student Development and Diversity Awards program in April, but also are recognized during Disabilities Awareness Month.

This year's recipients are Dr. Lori Bica, associate professor of psychology and chair of the department of psychology; Dr. Namji C. Kim, assistant professor of music and theatre arts; and Herr Juergen Schaupp, associate lecturer in foreign languages.

Bica was nominated by a student who uses a wheelchair and who appreciated Bica's assistance in getting across campus on a snowy day, as well as her willingness to make accommodations for the student's attention deficit disorder.

Kim was nominated by a student who said Kim was willing to overlook the student's mental and physical challenges during private piano lessons and to offer encouragement that helped the student overcome personal expectations of limitation.

"(Kim) has launched me into a whole new dimension of learning and goal setting I didn't even know was possible," the student wrote. "She has also had a positive effect on how I view myself and my ability to relate to others."

Of Schaupp, a student wrote," This professor is amazing, helpful and encouraging. He has helped me with many learning-related difficulties and has made me see German in many challenging and fun ways."

-30-

NW/JB

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