NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University is celebrating White Cane Safety Day and the 50th anniversary of its orientation and mobility certification preparation program with an Oct. 17 rally and march.
Festivities begin at 1 p.m. at the Baker Pattillo Student Center with a blindfold obstacle course arranged by SFA’s Braille and Cane Club. The march starts at 2 p.m. and will culminate at the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center with an address from Dr. Lorenzo Smith, SFA provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and a reception with cake and ice cream.
Beverly Jackson, clinical instructor in the Department of Education Studies, is spearheading the anniversary event.
“As a 1999 alumna of the program, I am honored to educate and support students working toward expanding their knowledge and expertise in the field of visual impairments,” Jackson said. “I am thrilled to be hosting the 50th anniversary of orientation and mobility and celebrating the independence of those who are blind and visually impaired.”
SFA began the orientation and mobility program in fall 1972 with support and guidance from the Texas State Commission for the Blind, which provided grant funding. Bob Bryant and Bill Bryan administered the program, affectionately known as the “Bill and Bob program,” for the next 33 years until the two retired.
The program is housed in the James I. Perkins College of Education’s Department of Education Studies.
Currently, SFA has the only undergraduate orientation and mobility program in the nation with 19 undergraduates enrolled. The university also has 14 graduate students seeking certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.
SFA also has a visual impairment preparation program that includes training and coursework for graduate students with teaching certificates to become certified teachers of students with visual impairments. Sixty-two students are currently enrolled.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information on the event or the orientation and mobility program, call (936) 468-1145 or email email@example.com.