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Disabilities advocate speaks at Cumberlands


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Ginny Thornburgh, a well-known advocate for people with disabilities, spoke at University of the Cumberlands’ convocation on Monday. She is currently the director of the Religion and Disability Program of the National Organization on Disability located in Washington, D.C. and has been working on behalf of the disabled for the past thirty-five years.

Thornburgh spoke to students and faculty about the unique gifts and talents of people with disabilities. She said that most disability is not apparent, and that more than one-fifth of Americans have a disability of some type.

There are many barriers for people with disabilities, including barriers of architecture, communication and attitude, which need to be overcome for these people to become accepted into society, according to Thornburgh. “The most important accommodation for people with disabilities is the accommodation of friendship,” said Thornburgh.

Thornburgh majored in philosophy and religion at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and has been granted eleven honorary degrees.

Thornburgh is married to Dick Thornburgh, the former governor of Pennsylvania, attorney general of the United States and under-secretary-general of the United Nations. As parents of a son with intellectual disability, the Thornburghs have worked worldwide to maximize opportunities for persons with disabilities in their communities, jobs, schools and congregations.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 118th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, graduate degrees and certifications in education as well as online programs.