2010 Meritorious Service Award

November 2, 2010

Linda Hudson Parrish, PhD, awarded 2010 AUCD Meritorious Service Award

Linda Hudson Parrish, PhD, of the Center on Disability and Development, Texas A&M University, received the 2010 Meritorious Service Award today at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Conference.

This award is presented to an Association member or group in recognition of professional and persona efforts that proactively support AUCD in achieving its mission to advance policy and practice for and with people living with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. 

From the presentation ceremony:

"Probably the activity that will transcend all others is that Linda was appointed, by the late Governor Ann Richards, to chair a five member task force that was charged with visiting all 13 State Schools (large congregate care institutions housing people with cognitive disabilities) and determining which, if any, could be consolidated or closed. This process took months of travel, visiting, holding public hearings, and yes, quite a bit of stress from employer unions and parent groups such as "Voice of the Retarded" and "Parents of Retarded Texans." The names of these groups alone reflect the types of interactions that Linda faced with each public appearance. Linda was even sued by these groups, but was exonerated in court. The result of her leadership was that two state schools were closed (Travis, Austin Texas and Ft. Worth). That was in the early 1990s and as hard as advocates have tried each legislative session to replicate this feat, it has never happened again.

After this victory, Governor Richards appointed Linda to chair the Texas Developmental Disabilities Council, which she did for several years until she was replaced by Gov. G.W. Bush. Linda also served as a board member for Advocacy, Inc., Texas' Protection and Advocacy Agency.

Since serving as the Public Policy Coordinator for the Center on Disabilities and Development at TAMU, Dr. Parrish has represented our University Center as a member of the Disability Policy Consortium. She has served as an officer or a member of the Management Team of that organization each year since our affiliation. She is known for her commitment to be in Austin, our state's capitol, for testifying before Senate and House committees, writing issue papers, presenting information for legislators and their staff on all issues relating to the rights and needs of people with disabilities.

Linda has accomplished this extraordinary service agenda while being funded to conduct notable research and receiving significant teaching awards. She has written 44 published works, including books, chapters, articles and reports and has been funded for 72 projects for over nine million dollars.

We thank and acknowledge you for your work, Linda, and look forward to many more years of your leadership and participation. Congratulations, Linda."



Established in 1971, AUCD is a membership organization comprised of three national networks of interdisciplinary, university-based Centers dedicated to research, education, leadership training, policy development, and direct service for people with disabilities.