Viscardi Achievement Awards Announced

The Viscardi Center released an announcement of the recipients for the Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, which honors the world's leading advocates for people with disabilities. The slate of awardees includes twelve distinguished leaders of the disability community.
Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr.

May 5, 2014 – The Viscardi Center today announced the recipients for the international 2014 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, which pay tribute to exemplary leaders in the disability community who have had a profound impact on shaping attitudes, raising awareness and improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. Having received nominations from 11 countries, this year’s slate of awardees hails from the United States, Australia and Kazakhstan.
The Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards were developed to honor the extraordinary societal contributions of the Awardees in the spirit of the legacy and vision of the Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs. As one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities, he served as a disability advisor to eight presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. The 2014 Award recipients include:

  • Jim Abbott – Former MLB Pitcher & Gold Medal Olympian
  • Marca Bristo – President & CEO of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Rory Cooper, Ph.D. – Distinguished Professor at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Maryanne Diamond – General Manager Advocacy and Engagement at Vision Australia
  • Neil Jacobson – Founder & CEO of Abilicorp
  • Arlene Mayerson – Attorney at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
  • Marlee Matlin – Academy Award & Golden Globe Award-winning Actress
  • Ron McCallum – Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney
  • Thomas Porter – Volunteer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
  • Susan Sygall - Co-founder & CEO of Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
  • Yevgeniy Tetyukhin – Professor at the Petropavlovsk North Kazakhstan State University
  • Mary Verdi-Fletcher – President & Founding Artistic Director of Dancing Wheels

“We’re truly honored to bestow upon such a dedicated, diverse and trend-setting group of leaders this year’s Award,” said John D. Kemp, President and CEO of The Viscardi Center. “Every day people with disabilities are leaving their footprint in communities all over the world, and their work often transcends the geographical boundaries where they live. The Award recipients challenge us, reminding us all that our work does make a meaningful difference.”
Individuals of any age, with any type of disability, are eligible. The Awards recognize individual, academia, athletic, community, government, nonprofit, military, corporate, and business leaders who are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. 

“It is often said that we, as a society, are at our best when ordinary people do extraordinary things — especially when it comes to making an impact on the world around us,” said former U.S. Senator Robert Dole, who co-chaired the Award Selection Committee. “These twelve individuals have demonstrated creativity, determination, ingenuity, leadership, success and tenacity. They embody what people with disabilities can accomplish.”

The Selection Committee, co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Robert Dole and the Honorable Luis Gallegos, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva, included Rohini Anand, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo, Rosangela Berman Bieler, Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities at UNICEF (2013 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award recipient), Cari Dominguez, former Chair of the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sherwood D. Goldberg, Esq. (Col. Ret), Senior Advisor for Asian Affairs at the Center for Naval Analysis, Hiro Itoh, President & CEO of Abilities of Japan, Axel Leblois, President & CEO of the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTS (G3ict), Inmaculada Placencia Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit for Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Directorate-General  for Justice of the European Commission, Patrick Rummerfield, Director-Patient Liaisons at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy-Krieger Institute (2013 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award recipient), James Sinocchi, Director, Workforce Communications at IBM, and Nina Viscardi, special art educator/art therapist.
For more information about the Awards, this year’s awardees, and the 2015 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards which will be announced in October 2014, visit
The Viscardi Center provides Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement, assistive technology and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. A global leader, it employs more than 300 professionals, including experts in education, human resources and technology. Learn more at