Zolinda Stoneman, director of the Institute on Human Development and Disability and University Professor in the department of human development and family science, has been appointed to the Anne Montgomery Haltiwanger Distinguished Professorship within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
The professorship was established in 2007 in honor of Haltiwanger by her husband, Dr. Earl Haltiwanger, and is one of 11 endowed professorships within FACS.
Anne Haltiwanger (BSHE 1967, M.S. 1969) was an instructor in the department of child and family development and directed the child development programs at the Athens unit of the Georgia Retardation Center (GRC) from 1969-76.
In 1976, Haltiwanger, who was leaving her position at UGA, was instrumental in hiring Stoneman, fresh off receiving her Ph.D. in psychology from what is now Vanderbilt University, to be an assistant professor and to continue Haltiwanger’s work at the Athens unit of the GRC.
During her 40-year career at the University, Stoneman has received numerous awards for both teaching and research, but she said this distinction is special because of its namesake.
“She is the one who made me want to be at Georgia and start my career here,” Stoneman said of Haltiwanger. “When I interviewed at Georgia, I was so impressed by what Anne had accomplished in establishing model classrooms for children with intellectual disabilities, as well as undergraduate and graduate level training programs for public school teachers of these students. She was so gracious and welcoming during my interview that I knew I wanted to come to Georgia.”
Stoneman has dedicated her career to training students and conducting research aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
Along the way she has received two of the University’s top honors, including the Creative Research Medal, which recognizes outstanding research, and the University Professorship, given to individuals whose actions as “change agents” have improved the quality with which the University serves its missions.
Stoneman also worked to chronicle the struggle for disability rights in Georgia through the co-founding of the Georgia Disability History Alliance, and served as a founding member of the Children’s Freedom Initiative, formed to promote the idea that children belong with loving, permanent homes and not in institutions or nursing homes.
She said one of her ongoing goals is to harness the power of modern media to reach a larger audience about the importance of disability research.
“What I would like to do with the funds from this award is to have stories told and put out there about those with disabilities or family development, whether that’s through social media, articles or videos,” Stoneman said.
Ultimately, Stoneman said she hopes society will understand the importance of providing the accommodations and supports that people with disabilities and their families need to be fully included in all aspects of community life.
“Individuals, families and communities are unique and have inherent value,” she said. “We are all strengthened when that uniqueness is recognized, respected and nurtured.”
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