Susan Sygall receives Honorary Doctorate from Chapman University

July 7, 2011
Source: MIUSA

Susan Sygall receives Honorary Doctorate from Chapman University

Chapman University awarded Susan Sygall a Doctorate of Humane Letters for her vision, dedication, and impressive record of achievement in her over 30 years of tireless advocacy for disability rights and women’s issues. The organization that she co-founded in 1981, Mobility International, USA, has worked with over 2000 leaders from over 100 countries to pursue goals of social justice, personal dignity, and economic opportunity for people with disabilities and their families.  Susan’s work has been recognized by a President’s Award from President Bill Clinton in 1995, by a MacArthur Fellowship, in 2000, and most recently by the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance as the recipient of the 2011 Matusak Courageous Leadership Award.

The Honorary Doctorate was presented by Philip Ferguson, Ph.D., a Professor at Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies, who spoke eloquently about Ms. Sygall’s accomplishments at the commencement ceremony, “We honor you for the special attention that you have brought to the needs and rights of women with disabilities around the world. Your strategy of combining international development initiatives with self-advocacy training has been effective in raising both the resources and the vision of women with disabilities in developing countries.  Over the last decade, you have spearheaded the planning and convening of the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), bringing together grassroots leaders from across the globe to share experiences, exchange strategies, and strengthen international networks of support.”

“We honor you for your lectures and publications on issues of international exchange and development. Your course on “Global Perspectives on Disability” that you have taught at the University of Oregon for many years has brought your vision of building inclusive international societies to generations of students. You have illustrated the best combination of scholarship in the public interest by combining your commitment to advocacy and service with an unending exploration of what it means to be disabled around the world.”

Rueben Martinez, a noted literacy activist and MacArthur Fellow was also awarded an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. For more information visit

Suz Dunn, Executive Assistant
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