3/9/06 Contact: Diane Glanzer, 334/844-8105 (glanzed@auburn.edu)
David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)


AUBURN - The Auburn University College of Education’s Auburn Transition Leadership Institute will host the 16th annual Transition in Alabama conference March 13-15 at the Marriott Lodge and Conference Center at Grand National in Opelika.

The Institute, which serves Alabama by helping to improve the quality of life for young citizens with disabilities, expects more than 600 Alabama stakeholders at the conference, bringing to more than 8,000 the total annual conference participants since 1991.

A major attraction at this year’s conference is Madeline C. Will, a national advocate for people with disabilities for three decades. President Ronald Reagan appointed Will assistant secretary to the U.S. Department of Education in the early 1980s. While in this office, she became founder and architect of the national movement of school-to-work for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Will has continued through the years to be a national leader in the field of disabilities. In 2002, she became chair of President George W. Bush’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and two years later she was named the director of the Policy Center for the National Down Syndrome Society. That same year, she received the President’s Award for Moral and Policy Leadership in mental retardation. Internationally, Will has served five nations in Central Europe as a disability consultant to nonprofit and government organizations.

This year’s conference includes eight day-long workshops on Monday, 34 concurrent sessions on Tuesday to be delivered by more than 75 presenters and a Share Fair on Wednesday.
Attendees will be entertained at a Tuesday evening banquet at which Cynthia Outman, a recipient of President Bill Clinton's Award for Educational Excellence, will tell her own remarkable transition story of never giving up until she achieved her goals, which included graduating from high school with honors in 1996.

Following Outman will be a performance by Willie Moody, an accomplished pianist, vocalist, lyricist and composer who has been blind since the age of two. He has opened shows for Ray Charles, performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and represented Georgia for the Itzhak Perlman Award.

AU’s College of Education has played a leadership role in addressing the challenge of preparing disabled young persons to “cross the bridge,” or successfully transition, from school to community as responsible and productive young adults. Philip Browning, department head of Rehabilitation and Special Education and co-director of the ATLI, was awarded last years AU Award for Excellence in Outreach for his contributions to transition.

For further information on the conference, contact Diane Glanzer at 844-8105 or glanzed@auburn.edu.

Auburn University is a preeminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

(Contributed by Katie Crew.)

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