Mike Hoenig's Retirement Signals the End of an Era for Iowa's UCEDD

August 23, 2022

Mike Hoenig demonstrates Braille to school kids
Mike Hoenig demonstrates Braille to school kids

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), Iowa’s UCEDD, is celebrating the end of an era. Mike Hoenig, long-time program coordinator for the UCEDD, has retired after twenty-nine years of service at CDD. Hoenig has played an integral role in a variety of programs and projects, including Living Well Iowa, our state’s version of Living Well with a Disability.

Over the years, Hoenig has taught many practicing professionals how to communicate effectively with people with disabilities. He has mentored self-advocacy trainees in our LEND program, and recently, he helped establish Iowa’s Youth Leadership Academy. He has managed the Conner Training Connection, an annual state grant program that supports a training website and the publication of a quarterly newsletter, “Possibilities in Education and Training.” Hoenig’s legacy at CDD will reflect his long-term commitment to promoting self-advocacy for people with disabilities, and working to ensure they are fully integrated in the community.

Mike Hoenig was a long-term member of the University of Iowa Council on Disability Awareness, having served previously as co-chair. An advocate of strong accessibility policies, Mike worked to assure the University of Iowa websites met the highest standards for accessibility. In 2016, the UI websites were cited as the most accessible in the nation.

Hoenig has lived with a disability his entire life. He is blind as the result of a retinal condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis. As a child and youth, he attended the Iowa School for the Blind in Vinton. He went on to earn his BA in psychology from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and his MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Iowa. A few years later, he joined the staff at CDD, and began nearly three decades of sharing his knowledge and expertise with Iowans with disabilities, their families and providers, and with his CDD co-workers.

One of Hoenig’s recent projects, “Disability Exchange,” is a podcast produced and presented by Iowa’s UCEDD. Hoenig served as one of the co-hosts for the podcast, which just wrapped up its first year of episodes. Hoenig was the subject of Episode 1, “A Lifetime of Advocacy with Mike Hoenig.”

Though this may be the end of an era for CDD, Mike Hoenig’s work on behalf of Iowans with disabilities will continue. He will serve as a consultant for the UCEDD in the upcoming year, supporting its commitment to ensuring a full life in the community for all. He will also continue to serve the state of Iowa, having just been appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to a three-year term on Iowa’s Developmental Disabilities Council.

Read the most recent issue of the “Possibilities in Education and Training” newsletter, the last one edited by Hoenig: https://www.disabilitytraining.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Possibilities_Summer22.pdf

Check out the Disability Exchange podcast, including Episode 1: https://uihc.org/ucedd/disability-exchange

Read how Hoenig collaborated with University of Iowa IT staff to ensure website accessibility: https://now.uiowa.edu/2016/11/ui-tops-in-university-website-accessibility

Story contact: Meredith Field at [email protected]