Office of Student Life

High honor bestowed on director for disability services

This article originally appeared in the August 17, 1998 edition of The Lantern.

By Alice Churchill

Lantern staff writer

Ann Yurcisin, director for the Office for Disability Services at Ohio State, said she never imagined she would be doing what she’s doing today. She recently received the highest honor awarded in her profession.

The Association on Higher Education and Disability awarded Yurcisin the 1998 Ronald E. Blosser Dedicated Service Award last month.

“I’m still stunned by it. It’s even hard to talk about because it’s so special,” Yurcisin said.

Yurcisin said she fell into her career by chance. Her undergraduate education was in social science secondary education, but after college she was asked to develop a preschool for developmentally disabled children.

“I was young,” she said. “If you asked me to do that now, I would say, ‘No way! I’m not qualified to do that,” she said.

Her graduate degree is in rehabilitation. She said the field was new in the early ‘70s, but she took the opportunities that came along.

Then, the focus was all on architectural access, she said.

“but it’s more than just wheelchairs and ramps,” Yurcisin said. “There are a lot of invisible needs.”

Fourteen-hundred OSU students with disabilities receive assistance from the Office For Disability Services, located in Pomerene Hall. Students with mobility, visual and hearing impairments, as well as learning and other disabilities, meet with counselors to assess their needs and receive appropriate services. 

Yurcisin has worked at OSU for about two years, but her experience in the field of rehabilitation goes back over 20 years. She has served in the association represents about 2,000 members from universities around the world. It seeks to provide resources for improving higher education for persons with disabilities.

Association President-Elect, Ward Newmeyer, said he has known Yurcisin since the late ‘80s. He characterized her as a great problem-solver because she is a good listener.

“I am very fond of her personally and enjoy her friendship,” he said. “She is the sort of person people feel free to talk to.”

The executive Vice President of the association, Ed Suddath, said Yurcisin is “very deserving as a result of the roles she has played… and her continued willingness to serve.”