Baruch College's Karen Gourgey Honored With Two Awards For Serving The Visually Impaired Community


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NEW YORK, NY-- April 25, 2013 Karen Gourgey, the Director of The Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College was recently honored with two awards for her dedication and service to the blind and visually impaired community throughout the city and state.

New York City Council Member Gale A. Brewer, a longtime friend of CCVIP, presented her with the Matthew P. Sapolin Visionary Award during the 6th Annual Employment & Visual Impairment Conference at Baruch College on April 19. Named after the late Commissioner for Mayor Bloomberg’s Office for People with Disabilities, the Matthew P. Sapolin Visionary Award was given to Dr. Gourgey by members of CCVIP, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Helen Keller National Center and other organizations around the city.

“[Dr. Gourgey] has led the Baruch Computer Center for Visually Impaired People into a national model, and has been a tireless warrior for accessible pedestrian signals, computer applications for the visually impaired, and many other issues,” said Council Member Brewer. “Dr. Gourgey is now one of the most highly-regarded experts on accessibility issues in the country, for the visually impaired and sighted alike.”

During a conference in Albany on April 23, The New York State Association for Education & Rehabilitation (NYSAER) for the Blind & Visually Impaired also recognized Dr. Gourgey’s achievements with the Nat Seaman Award, given in recognition of leadership and service to people with disabilities throughout the state. The award was for 30 years of advocacy for furthering the cause of people who are blind and visually impaired.

As director of CCVIP since 1983, Dr. Gourgey has enabled the training of hundreds of blind and visually impaired people to become competent computer users and has promoted assistive technology to help those around the world. As a founder and the chair of PASS (Pedestrians for Accessible and Safe Streets), a coalition of agencies and consumer groups, she was instrumental in getting the first law passed in New York City to install accessible pedestrian signals throughout the city. Dr. Gourgey has also spearheaded the creation of raised-line large print maps for blind and visually impaired subway and bus travelers, developed a “talking kiosk” in transit facilities, and co-invented the “Talking Tactile Tablet,” for which she and co-inventor Steven Landau were jointly awarded the first annual Louis Braille Touch of Genius Award from National Braille Press. She has also served on the Governor’s Executive Board of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped since 2007. Dr. Gourgey is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University, where she received an Ed.D.in special education.

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About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world.  For more about Baruch College, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141, manuel.romero@baruch.cuny.edu

Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112, mercedes.sanchez@baruch.cuny.edu

Celene McDermott (646) 660-6134, celene.mcdermott@baruch.cuny.edu