Campus office helps students with disabilities realize their full potential

Instead of heading to their residence halls for dinner on Wednesday night during the first week of classes, one dozen freshmen made their way to the Faculty Club to help inaugurate a new tradition of the Office of Accessible Education.

The Sept. 22 event, which was the first “welcome dinner” hosted by the office for incoming frosh with disabilities, attracted about 42 people, including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff.

During the reception, Jeffrey Wachtel, speaking on behalf of President John Hennessy, said Stanford would be involved in creating new initiatives on behalf of students with disabilities as a result of a generous gift. (Wachtel is senior assistant to the president and secretary to the university’s Board of Trustees.)

Once everyone was seated, Joan Bisagno, assistant vice provost and director of the Office of Accessible Education (OAE), welcomed them to the dinner, which the office plans will be an annual event.

She introduced several top administrative officials, including Sally Dickson, chair of the university’s Disability Advisory Committee, which was established in the summer of 2009 to help improve the services and academic accommodations – for classes or tests – provided to students with disabilities.

She also introduced Angelina Cardona, who is the president of the Associated Students of Stanford University, and Vivian Wong, a member of the advisory committee and ASSU executive chair of disabilities and accessible education.

“The purpose of this dinner was to send the message from the university that the community of students with disabilities contributes to and enhances the diversity of Stanford,” Dickson said during a recent interview. “We also wanted to tell students that there are many resources available to them on campus.”

Read more.