Campus: SAN FRANCISCO -- April 17, 2006

SFSU history professor wins CSU Wang Family Excellence Award

Leading disability studies scholar Paul Longmore among five 'outstanding' honorees statewide

Paul Longmore, a professor of history at San Francisco State University, is one of five recipients of the 2006 California State University Wang Family Excellence Award. The award celebrates CSU distinguished faculty and administrators who have displayed extraordinary commitment and dedication and made outstanding contributions and achievements in their field.

Longmore has not only helped change public perception of people with disabilities, but has also helped establish the analysis of disability as a field in academic research and teaching, much as women studies and ethnic studies were shaped in prior decades. He is the second SFSU faculty member to win a Wang Award. Geoffrey Marcy, adjunct professor of physics and astronomy, won in 1999 for his key work in the discovery of more than 14 extra-solar planets.

"Great professors and leaders such as these individuals have a strong passion for helping students learn and providing them with the best education possible," said Stanley T. Wang, a former CSU trustee who established the awards in 1998 with a $1-million gift. "I am a strong believer that faculty are the key to a high-quality education, which is the door to success and happiness in life."

Four faculty members and one administrator throughout the CSU system will receive $20,000 awards and will be honored at the CSU Trustees' meeting May 16 - 17. Each campus president may nominate one faculty member from each of four discipline categories, as well as one administrator.

Longmore won the 2005 Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities, named in honor of the rehabilitation medicine pioneer and advocate for people with physical disabilities.

Longmore, who joined SFSU in 1992, is an expert on disability issues and a scholar in American colonial history. He is director of the SFSU Institute on Disability and served as co-director of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Disability Studies, a first-of-its-kind event held at SFSU in 2000. Later that year he helped convene the first major academic symposium on disability and sexuality.

He speaks out frequently against disability discrimination, depictions of disability in film and television, physician-assisted suicide, and changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act that have removed coverage for 70 percent of the disabled population.

In 1988, Longmore lit a match to his book on George Washington in front of the Social Security Administration's offices in Los Angeles as a protest to policies that penalized disabled professionals for earning money through education, fellowships and grants. The Longmore Amendment was established soon after, allowing disabled authors to count publishing royalties as earned income. He recounted the protest in the title essay of his 2003 book "Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability."

Longmore is working on two more books: one about the cultural significance of telethons in the United States, and the other about nationalism and the coming of the American Revolution.

Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665; matti@sfsu.edu


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