Challenging Expectations: Disability in the 21st Century

The University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium began in the fall of 1963 after the nation had just experienced the historic March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic address. And in November, the nation sobbed in collective grief when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

During its 57 years, the colloquium has never wavered in its commitment to bring compelling, controversial, sometimes funny, and even outlandish speakers to URI and the broader community even as the nation, state, and world faced war, financial crisis, despoiling of the environment, or, conversely, celebrated victories like humans walking on the moon, the Civil Rights Act, and the Clean Water Act.

Colloquium organizers have never had to offer the series amid a global pandemic, and also never have they had to be more nimble and adaptable than to offer this fall’s free, public lecture series, “Challenging Expectations: Disability in the 21st Century.”

Dr. Rick Rader
Rick Rader will deliver the first lecture of the 2020 Honors Colloquium on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.  Watch it online!

This year’s colloquium, which marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, couldn’t be more timely. As technology has been critical in the fight against and response to COVID-19, it has also opened doors over the decades to those with disabilities and changed what we view as possible in everything from education and health care and to sports and entertainment.

The colloquium begins Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. with the talk, “Disability and Perception,” by Rick Rader, director of the Morton J. Kent Habitation Center, a part of the Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The medical doctor is described as a medical futurist who predicts the medical problems of people with neurodevelopmental disabilities. He is responsible for the identification, implementation, and evaluation of novel, innovative, and inclusive programs in health care.

Read more about this year’s Honors Colloquium.