2023 Anne Rudigier Award

November 7, 2023

The Anne Rudigier Award is named for Anne Rudigier, a young woman who demonstrated that one individual's commitment, energy, love of life, and respect for all people can be shared and can persevere through others. The Award is presented by the Rudigier Family in loving memory of their daughter Anne and of the values she held in her life and in her work.

Shawn Aleong

Institute on Disabilities, UCEDD: Philadelphia, PA

"Shawn Aleong has demonstrated a substantial and impactful commitment to supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families through his research and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. He has certainly made a difference in the lives of many individuals with developmental disabilities, directly as well as through his impacts on the people who will regularly engage with, and make laws for, people with disabilities.

Biography

Shawn Devon Aleong is a talented and ambitious African-American male who lives with cerebral palsy. He is a human rights, disability rights, and civil rights advocate. Shawn is a self-proclaimed trend-setter and known for breaking down barriers and stereotypes that marginalize black males and individuals with disabilities. Shawn is currently a Legal Studies and a Finance student in the Fox School of Business where he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Business Law and Finance with a minor in real estate. Shawn prides himself in being actively engaged both on and off campus. Shawn is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. by the way of Pi Ro where he currently serves as the Education Chair and the Chaplain of his chapter. Shawn serves as the Senior Advisor for Temple Student Government and holds a seat on the executive board for the Black Law Student Association, Pre-Law Division. As an active member of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Shawn also finds time to support his passion for advocacy by participating in the Advisory Board for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.  Shawn first started his pursuit of higher education with the Academy for Adult Learning, also at Temple, in 2012 and earned a certificate of completion in 2014. However, that was just the beginning and Shawn persevered and made a conscience decision to continue his studies in preparation for his future by enrolling as a matriculated student in the Fox School of Business in Spring 2018.

Shawn occupies his spare time by supporting off-campus activities of which one of his positions includes an appointed citizen member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) by the Biden administration. He also previously served an appointed role within the Office of the Mayor as a commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission. In addition, Shawn is a strong advocate for underserved minority populations and individuals with and without disabilities. Shawn enjoys traveling and has served as the keynote speaker for various conferences and organizations. He often travels to Harrisburg and Washington D.C. for speaking engagements and to promote discussions where he advocates for various underserved communities to U.S. Congressman, State Congressmen, and Legislators. Shawn has taken on public speaking opportunities where he has addressed the  importance of the Able Act for Senator Bob Casey and spoke at a press conference for Senator Casey on Medicaid. Shawn has also had an opportunity to speak outside of the Supreme Court for Senator Casey to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act. During the summer months, Shawn interns at the Disability Rights of Pennsylvania, a law firm where he was recently promoted to be the 2023 legal undergraduate intern.

We cannot call this a great society until we recognize all abilities because a disability is an ordained gift.” — Shawn D. Aleong