The Disability Resource Center honored 27 of UGA’s most hardworking, determined students during its annual Student and Faculty Recognition Reception on Oct. 20 at the Classic Center Grand Hall.
The reception recognized students receiving private scholarship from donors supporting the DRC and its efforts. These scholarships help students by allowing them to address their health concerns while also succeeding academically.
Upon accepting their awards, student not only thanked the donors but also told the audience their own stories, highlighting their struggles, achievements and goals.
Thomas Woodyard, this year’s recipient of the Joe Coile Memorial Scholarship, is a sophomore studying Japanese language and literature, and plans to attend the UGA School of Law. Woodyard is visually impaired, with no vision in his left eye and only partial vision in his right.
“My vision impairment presents a number of access challenges in both everyday and academic life on campus,” he said. “This makes things like even figuring what is for dinner in the dining commons difficult at times.”
While some aspects of campus life are difficult for Woodyard, he believes “that with a coordinated plan I will succeed.”
“I hope you know how proud we are of you, how impressed we are by you and how inspired we are by you,” Provost Pamela Whitten told the students. “When we see you, when we teach you in the classroom and when we interact with you in campus, we do not see your disabilities. What we see is a University of Georgia student.”
Erin Richman, the director of academic partnerships and initiatives in the Division of Student Affairs, presented the Outstanding Faculty award to Sandie Bass-Ringdahl, director of the communication sciences and special education program and a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education.
“I am privileged to work with the students that I work with,” she said. “They push me to be a better professor, to be a better person and to do a better job each and every day.”
The DRC helps over 1,700 students who are completing their education while also managing various disabilities. The center provides assistive technology, transportation, note-takers and other means of support to students.
Other scholarship recipients who were recognized included Taylor Evan, the Betty and Joe Satterthwaite Memorial Scholarship; Tate Hutwagner and Risa Matsumura, the Michael E. Merriman Memorial Scholarship; Louis Conde, the Radcliff Scholarship; Raphael Bryan, the Elizabeth and J.C. Faulkner Scholarship; Kimberly Cabrera, Danielle Bright and Mary Wallace Noe, the Gregory Charles Johnson Scholarship; Clark Veazey, the Orkin Family Scholarship; Tyler Burrell, the Matthew Peddicord Memorial Scholarship; Javery Santwire, the Dale Gibson Memorial Scholarship; Caylor Riemenschneider, Angelise Sleeman and Jim Vinson, the Lupuloff Family Scholarship; Melissa Alfaro, the John and Frances Mangan Family Scholarship; Adrian Cornejo-Bueno, the Margaret Ann Towson Scholarship; Caroline Watkins, Madison Miller and Frances Dean, the Weldon Johnson Access Abroad Award; Nicholas Gambino, the Carey Louis Davis Scholarship; Lavette Leflore and Gabrielle Illg, the Hamilton Family Scholarship; Brandon Webb and Ambrya Myers, the Choate Family Scholarship; Margaret Linzey, the Margaret C. Totty Memorial Scholarship; and Matthew Lemer, the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship.