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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

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UK Human Development Institute celebrates at 50th Anniversary Gala

Published: November 4, 2019

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) hosted its 50th anniversary Gala at the Gatton Student Center on Saturday, November 4, 2019. This momentous occasion brought together nearly 200 current and former staff, students, families, and community partners to celebrate the achievements of HDI’s mission to promote the inclusion, independence, and contributions of people with disabilities and their families throughout the lifespan.

On behalf of HDI, Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones welcomed special guest speakers that included UK Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. David Blackwell, UK Vice-President for Research, Dr. Lisa Cassis, former Executive Director of HDI, Dr. Harold Kleinert, and Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Andy Imparato, JD. Imparato said, “HDI has been a force for change in Kentucky and across the country for the past 50 years. Under Kathy’s leadership, HDI is poised to change the world with and for people with disabilities moving into the future”.

The HDI generates approximately $23 million in external funding per year, with approximately 235 staff working in every county of the state, with several projects having international impact. While Sheppard-Jones recognized the past, she looks forward to a bright future for HDI. “We’re all interdependent, whether you are considered to have a disability or not.”

Special thanks to the Gala Planning Committee, guest speakers, sponsors, the UK Gatton Student Center Event Staff, silent auction donors, and local musicians, Silverback, for providing entertainment. HDI will continue its work through education, research and evaluation, information sharing, leadership, and advocacy across Kentucky, and the nation.