August 23, 2014  

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Southern Miss Director Invited to Participate in White House Celebration

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Dr. Royal Walker has served as executive director of the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi since 2009. (Photo by Danny Rawls)

Dr. Royal Walker, executive director of the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been invited to participate in a ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act set for Friday, Nov. 15 at the White House.

The event will be held from Noon-3:30 CST in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House and feature senior Administration officials, special guests and a series of panel discussions about the past, present and future for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It is an honor to be selected to be a part of this celebration as we reflect on the past and chart the nation’s future in serving the citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Walker.

The White House Office of Public Engagement, in partnership with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the National Council on Disability is sponsoring the special commemoration.

As executive director for the Institute for Disability Studies, Walker is responsible for the daily operations of the Institute’s Hattiesburg, Jackson and Long Beach offices and satellite offices in the Delta and Tupelo. At IDS since 1992, he served as associate director until 2007 and as co-director from 2007 to 2008.

Through the years, he has initiated and directed many state and local initiatives for people with disabilities. As an instructor at Southern Miss, Walker teaches disability courses in program design, cultural diversity and public policy development and implementation.  He has also been an adjunct lecturer at Jackson State University in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law and government.

Walker is a past president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the national organization that supports and promotes the network of university-based interdisciplinary programs comprised of 67 university centers, 34 leadership education in neurodevelopmental disabilities programs and 19 developmental disability research centers located in and serving every state in the United States and its territories. He was awarded the 2012 AUCD Outstanding Achievement Award during the 2012 AUCD conference held in Washington, DC.

To learn more about the Institute for Disability Studies, call 601.266.5163 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/disability-studies