WMU News

HHS alumna Dede Ackerman honored

June 19, 2001

CINCINNATI -- Denise "Dede" Ackerman, a 1994 alumna of the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services, received the first Dixie Harmon Memorial Award for her "tireless efforts to improve conditions of accessibility for individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have multiple disabilities."

Ackerman is an orientation and mobility teacher and low vision specialist at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind. The award was presented at a dinner sponsored by the Center for Independent Living Options, and is given in memory of Dixie Harmon, an advocate for accessibility in the Cincinnati area.

Ginny Backscheider, program services director at CAB, said, "We are proud of Dede and her work and her commitment to accessibility for all persons who are disabled."

In her acceptance speech, Ackerman said, "Accessibility is more than the wheelchair lifts, the construction of ramps and curb cuts.to allow equal and independent access to today's changing world. Access requires changing perspective to understand and appreciate the need for change."

Ackerman joined CAB in 1998, after working in the disabilities field for more than 10 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in special education from Miami University and a master's degree in orientation and mobility from WMU.

Established in 1911, CAB is a private, not-for-profit organization offering counseling, rehabilitation, information and employment services to people who are blind, visually impaired or print impaired in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Media contacts
WMU, Thom Myers, 616 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu
CAB, Jane McGraw, 513 487-4233

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