David Zamansky, who has fostered new understandings of complex issues through his outreach education on people with disabilities, is being honored with the 2016 UNH President’s Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities Award.
As assistant director of the MUB, Zamansky serves as the main organizer of the MUB Current Issues Lecture Series. For many years now, his work to bring to campus teachers, artists, musicians, writers, storytellers and scientists has raised awareness about those who live with disabilities.
Speakers like Temple Grandin and Mandy Harvey have drawn packed houses, and those fortunate enough to get in the door have been able to experience the beauty, depth and diversity of being human.
In announcing the award, the commission writes, “Dave has earned the commission's attention and deep gratitude for doing this work to deepen understanding. Most important of all, his big-hearted connections-making has kindled interest in promoting equity and inclusion at UNH.”
Some of the personalities he has brought to the stage at UNH have been people on the autism spectrum who revolutionized agricultural practices, a celebrity vocalist who is hearing impaired, a person who had been labeled severely learning disabled and graduated from Brown University with honors, a young man with Tourette’s syndrome who inspires people to listen to others’ stories before judging, a blind person who escaped the burning buildings on Sept. 11, 2001, and several people with invisible disabilities such as depression who have achieved excellence in the fields of filmmaking and photography.
By bringing these speakers to campus, Zamansky has encouraged listeners to understand the importance of human rights, civil rights and accessibility rights for all.