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The Center was formed with a threefold focus on programs in the community, student scholarships, and faculty research. The initial community focus has been on employment of people with disabilities. Programs were held to acquaint the business community with the advantages of hiring persons with disabilities and a partnership was formed with other interested organizations.

The first student scholarships were awarded in March 2001 for the 2001-2002 academic year. Although funds were available for six $1,000 scholarships, there were qualifying applicants from only four of USI's six schools/divisions and four awards were given. Six awards were given each year 2002-2007.  When one or more colleges had no qualified applicants, at-large winners were selected from a pool of highly-qualified applicants from other colleges. Applications are solicited each fall with an application deadline in early January.  The scholarships are presented at the Honors program of the colleges, held annually in March.

Several community programs have been funded through the Center, bringing to campus speakers on various disability and diversity issues.  We invite suggestions for program topics and speakers by e-mail.  A series of audio conferences originated by the Disability & Business Technical Centers (DBTAC) on various disability issues are hosted at USI approximately once a month.  Click here for a list of topics and dates.

To date, no faculty research projects have been funded.


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In November 1998, the Board of Directors of Epi-Hab of Evansville, Inc. voted to dedicate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their facility on O'Hare Drive to the creation of a Center for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Indiana. The funds were deposited with the Community Foundation Alliance and the income from the funds made available to USI for the operation of the Center. Gary E. May, MSSW, Associate Professor of Social Work at USI, was named director of the Center which began operating in fall semester 2000. An advisory committee from the community and the university (several of whom had been members of the Epi-Hab Board of Directors) was formed and met quarterly to contribute to the direction of the Center.
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