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AUCD - Awards Gala & Reception

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012 4:45 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Columbia 5-8 and Columbia West

Session Description

The AUCD Awards Ceremony and Gala is a time for the AUCD network to honor deserving individuals who have made distinct contributions to disability research, education, policy, services, training, special health care needs, and the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

A special performance by Dr. JW Smith will provide a backdrop to the awards ceremony.

Following the ceremony, attendees are invited to the AUCD Gala for an evening of food, fellowship, and fun.



Dr. J.W. Smith

JW Smith
Blind since birth, JW is a professor of Speech Communication at Ohio University in Athens, OH. JW released his first recording in 1992, and has continued to release albums and perform around the country since. He characterizes his music style as "easy on the ear and a combination of Gospel and R&B," with influences ranging from Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles to Cee Lo Green.
J. Webster Smith (J.W.), PhD, was born blind on March 9, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois He is the second of five children and his family still resides in the Chicago area. His hobbies include reading, watching sports, singing and playing the piano/keyboards. Dr. Smith and his wife, Regina, have two daughters, Ebony and Joshelyn.

Academic Career

Dr. Smith attended public school in the Chicago and Northwest Indiana areas and graduated from Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Indiana in 1976. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Speech Communication from Indiana University in 1982, his Master of Arts degree in Speech Communication from Purdue University in 1985, and his PhD from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1989. Presently, Dr. Smith is a professor of Speech Communication in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Before this tenure, Dr. Smith served as professor of Speech Communication at Indiana University, South Bend. He has taught a variety of courses at the university level, including Persuasion, Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Business and Professional Speaking, Political Communication, Rhetoric and Public Address, History of Rhetorical Theory, Oral Interpretation, Religious Rhetoric, Black Communication Styles, Communication with Persons with Physical Disabilities, Communication between Cultures, and Rhetorical Criticism.

Dr. Smith is a member of the National Federation of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, the National Association of Blind Educators, the National Communication Association, and the Central States Communication Association. He served as first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio from 1994 to 2008 and was elected president in November 2008. In addition he has served on the Ohio State Library Consumer Advisory Committee and was a member of the State Consumer Advisory Council of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission for a number of years. He has also served on the Ohio Governor's Council on People with Disabilities.

Musical Career

In addition to his contributions to academia and the community, Dr. Smith, aka "Dr. FeelGood," has also had a long musical career. He began singing and playing the keyboards at the age of twelve, went on to become a professional gospel singer at age thirteen, and has worked as a music therapist and radio announcer since 1983. He has been featured on Inspirations Across America, won numerous Christian talent shows, and a variety of gospel competitions.

In 1992, Dr. Smith released his first recording entitled "One Day" and his first CD "Hymns Plus" in 2006.  Three years later, in 2009, "Hymns Plus Volume 2," a compilation of original and classic gospel renditions, was released. The project was recorded at the local D&R Studio and features numbers with the Athens Chapter High Society Jazz Band and the D&R Studio Band. At the time of the release, Dr. Smith commented, "I think it's the best thing I've ever done, at least up until now." Since that time, Dr. Smith has gone on to release additional recordings, including "It's All Good" in 2010. It is considered to be the greatest hits or the selected best cuts from the three previous recordings. After four Gospel music CDs, Dr. Smith released his first secular recording in 2012 entitled "24 Hours with Dr. FeelGood." He characterizes his musical style as "easy on the ear and a combination of Gospel and R&B." His influences range from Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles to Cee Lo Green.