Todd Van Wieren, assistant director of Disability Support Services at IUP, presented Lisa Price, a professor in the Communication Disorders, Special Education, and Disability Services Department, with the 2017 Ray Coppler Disability Awareness Award in April. Price received the award, in part, for securing funding for communication devices for children with disabilities. Her name has been added to the plaque behind her, created by IUP retiree Rebecca Sterley.
Each spring, IUP presents the Ray Coppler Disability
Awareness Award to recognize a student or employee for exemplary contributions to disability awareness, education, and inclusiveness. The award’s first recipient, Ray Coppler ’10, worked on a number of initiatives as an IUP undergraduate to support
students with disabilities.
A former investigator with the US Office of Personnel Management, Ray has been working toward
a second master’s degree at the University of Central Florida and has been drafting college curriculum on diversity and inclusion. He is also pursuing an advisory role on disability policy with the Trump administration.
Characterizing people with
disabilities as an “underutilized demographic,” Ray said his personal philosophy focuses on what people within this demographic can do for society, rather than what society can do for them. Ray himself has mobility impairments, and he is pursuing
editorial-writing opportunities focused on issues that affect people with disabilities.
In the past, the Coppler award has recognized leadership of campus initiatives such as the Special Needs Activity Program, Best Buddies, and Autism Awareness Week. Those who followed Ray in receiving the award are Lindsey DePra ’12, David Lorenzi, John
Grant M’10, Annah Hill ’01, D’14, Robert Matchett ’16, William VanEmburg, and Lisa Price.