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AUCD - Awards Gala & Hosted Reception

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A semi-formal dress event honoring network members. Featuring a musical performance by Sujeet Desai.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 4:45 pm - 7:30 pm

Location: Renaissance Ballroom/Grand Ballroom North

Session Description

AUCD Awards Gala

The Awards Gala is an exciting addition to the AUCD Conference. During the Awards Ceremony, the AUCD network will honor deserving individuals who have made a distinct contributions to disability research, education, policy, services, and the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The following individuals will be honored:

  • Claudia Avila-Lopez, MSW
  • Marion Taylor Baer, PhD, RD
  • Arnold Birenbaum, PhD
  • Joann Bodurtha, MD, MPH
  • Kathleen Braden, MD
  • Bridget Brown
  • Paul Carbone, MD
  • Allen C. Crocker, MD
  • Kenneth DeGraff
  • Michael Gamel-McCormick, PhD
  • Carolina Meyerson
  • Emily Shea Obremski, MEd
  • Kathleen A. Sheppard-Jones, PhD
  • Luisa Rámirez de Lynch, DPT
  • Royal P. Walker, Jr., JD
  • Lucille A. Zeph, EdD
  • Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities
  • Nebraska Center on Disabilities Monroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation
  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

A semi-formal dress Gala Reception will follow.


Sjueet Desai

Special Gala Performance: Sujeet Desai

The AUCD 2009 Awards Gala will feature a musical performance by Sujeet Desai. Sujeet is an accomplished musician who plays 6 instruments: B flat clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, violin, piano, and drums. He also has Down syndrome and is married to a self-advocate; together they live in Rome, New York.

In 2001, Sujeet graduated from high school with honors. In 2003, he graduated from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in Massachusetts after a two-year postsecondary residence to study music and human services. He has made music his career, traveling around the world to perform inspirational solo music performances and self-advocacy workshops. Sujeet has performed in 38 US states and 12 countries and has received 8 international awards for his music and self-advocacy. Sujeet has been the subject of 2 documentaries and numerous TV and newspaper interviews. In fact, one of the documentaries-Sujeet's Song-will be featured Tuesday afternoon in the media room and copies will be available for purchase during the reception. In addition to playing 6 instruments, Sujeet has a 2nd degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, and has won numerous medals in the World Games in Special Olympics in swimming, alpine skiing, cross-country running, and bowling.

Sujeet's mission is to send a message across the world that when given opportunities for their abilities, individuals with disabilities can "Make It Happen!" Sujeet maintains a website ( to communicate with his many fans around the world.