Ian and Margaret Hill unveil the plaque for the Mark A. Hill Accessibility Centre. Bonnie Neuman, VP student services, looks on. (Photo: Nick Pearce)
Mark A. Hill Accessibility Centre Opens
October 6, 2008
By Ryan Moody and Beth McAra
Attaining a post-secondary education isn’t easy. For students overcoming obstacles such as mobility issues, chronic illness and dyslexia it’s an even greater challenge. But a new centre and scholarship at Dalhousie will ensure students with disabilities have every opportunity to succeed.
The Mark A. Hill Accessibility Centre was officially dedicated on October 6, 2008. It offers unique features to give students equal opportunity for education. These include services such as sign-language interpretation and customized social areas, study and exam rooms.
Made possible by Ian and Margaret Hill, the centre is dedicated to their son, Mark A. Hill. After a car accident left Mark a quadriplegic at age 18, he overcame many barriers to pursue his dreams. The centre is a gift from his parents in memory of his spirit and to inspire future Dalhousie students.
In planning the centre, Student Accessibility Services surveyed students to find out what they wanted. Results from a recent survey overwhelmingly indicated the necessity for more space. The new centre has more than three times the space than what was previously available. There are 13 exam rooms equipped with computers loaded with the latest accessibility software and a place for students to sit and have a cup of tea or find a quiet place to work on projects and study.
“The new centre is a quantum leap in our standard of service for students with disabilities,” said Bonnie Neuman, vice-president of student services at Dalhousie. “It's a great design focused on student needs and the support of the Hill family has helped us increase our accommodations.”
In accommodating students with financial need, a new scholarship was also announced at the dedication ceremony. The Johnson Foundation Scholarship, one of the largest of its kind in the region, is dedicated solely to removing barriers to provide accessible education to all students with disabilities.