Carleton will pay tribute to Rick Hansen at a special ceremony Oct. 27 for his many years of dedication to raising awareness about accessibility issues.
The tribute will follow a town hall about the university’s READ (Research Education Accessibility and Design) Institute, offering both the university community and community partners to learn more about the proposed institute.
“We’ve been able to garner tremendous support for an institute on disability,” explains Dean Mellway, one of the champions of the project. “Everyone sees Carleton as a natural leader in the field because for the past 20 years through Paul Menton Centre we’ve created a level of accessibility for students (faculty and staff) with disabilities that is second-to-none.”
Mellway says the town hall is a way to bring the external community to the campus to highlight the work that Carleton can do and to try to create collaboration between organizations that serve people with disabilities.
The town hall will offer four brief presentations – disability studies program, universal access for Industrial Design, all the research that Carleton is doing in the area of disability and captioning project. Following the presentation, will be an open dialogue between the audience and the panellists.
“We want to get ideas what the structure of the institute could be because at this point the institute is just a concept. As we move forward, we want to define a governing structure for it and we are looking for input from inside the university and the community at large,” says Mellway.
The town hall is being organized by the READ Institute Steering Committee and it saw an opportunity to also recognize the work of Rick Hansen, who holds an honorary degree from Carleton.
“We have an opportunity to celebrate a great Canadian who has done so much for accessibility,” says Mellway, of the tribute. Hansen will be honoured at the tribute with a sculpture carved by Ottawa artist David Fels. The carving, made out of an iconic oak tree, will eventually have a permanent home outside the institute once it’s established.
Hansen is in Ottawa for a few days around Oct. 27 as part of the 25th anniversary of his Man in Motion world tour. As part of the anniversary tour 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made a difference in their own communities and in the lives of others will walk, wheel or run in the nine-month, 12,000 kilometre Relay that retraces the route of Hansen’s original Tour. Mellway and his wife Amanda, will do a leg of the relay on Oct. 28.
If you want to attend the tribute to Rick Hansen, please register at: https://advancement.carleton.ca/events/local.htm.