Loretta Claiborne, a six-time Special Olympics gold medalist, will be the keynote speaker Friday, Oct. 13, as the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute and the rehabilitation and counseling department celebrate their 50th anniversaries.
Claiborne is scheduled to speak at 9 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center to kick off a daylong conference, Innovation Through the Decades. The title of her presentation will be “Let Me Show You What I Can Do!”
Learn more and register for the conference and reception here. Onsite registrations are welcome.
Claiborne is the first Special Olympian to run the Boston Marathon, finishing in 3:09 in 1981, and has completed 26 marathons. She is an ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner, has appeared on “Oprah,” spoke before Congress and introduced President Clinton at the 1996 Special Olympics World Summer Games. She was the subject of the 2000 film “The Loretta Claiborne Story” by Walt Disney Productions. Learn more at her website.
She also will speak to UW-Stout students and visit Menomonie middle and high schools. Her visit is sponsored by SVRI and the Speak Up program at UW-Stout’s Involvement Center.
The conference and special events, coinciding with UW-Stout homecoming week, mark the 50th anniversaries of vocational rehabilitation services and academic programs on campus.
The conference will explore the history of programs, services and innovation in vocational rehabilitation offered at UW-Stout and across the nation. Conference topics will include assistive technology, benefits counseling, services to veterans, vocational evaluation, knowledge mobilization efforts, global rehabilitation outreach efforts and research.
Tours of SVRI will be available late afternoon Thursday, Oct. 12.
Other speakers and presenters are UW-Stout alumnus Michael Leahy of Michigan State University on global perspectives in vocational rehabilitation, alumni and former faculty/staff members sharing panel presentations with staff and researchers.
Distinguished service awards will be presented at the conference luncheon.
Honoring founder Paul Hoffman
The anniversary events, including a golf outing Thursday and reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, will be dedicated to the work of the late Paul Hoffman, founder of SVRI and the rehabilitation and counseling department in 1967.
Hoffman also was instrumental in helping start, through a partnership with the university and community, the Stout Technology and Business Park on Menomonie’s east side. At 10 a.m. Saturday, a plaque recognizing him will be dedicated in the park next to the pond and paved trail behind Oaklawn Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Top: Loretta Claiborne
Bottom: UW-Stout's Vocational Rehabilitation Building.