Richard L. Welsh Award
The Penn-Del AER Service Award was established to recognize an AER professional who has demonstrated outstanding contributions and performance to the field serving the education and/or rehabilitation needs of individuals with visual impairment in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
In Memory of Our Colleague and Friend, Dr. Richard L. Welsh, the award was renamed the Richard L. Welsh Service Award. Dr. Richard L. Welsh (Rick) was a well-respected leader, mentor, colleague, and friend. Rick provided orientation and mobility (O&M) instruction to students at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, was an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and established the O&M teacher training program at Cleveland State University. He served as superintendent of the Maryland School for the Blind and then was president of the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind who led the consolidation of the Guild and the Pittsburgh Association for the Blind (now the Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh). Rick was instrumental in the founding of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) which was a consolidation of American Association of Workers for the Blind (AAWB) and the Association for Education of the Visually Handicapped (AEVH) and served as the first elected President. He co-edited the landmark textbook, Foundations of Orientation and Mobility. The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of AER offers it deepest appreciation of Rick who served with boundless dedication to our chapter as well as the organization; now, therefore,the Penn-Del AER Chapter at the 2015 conference changed the name of the Penn-Del AER Service Award to be named the Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award in recognition of his distinguished career on behalf of persons with visual impairments and the professionals who serve them.
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Download both the award description and award application form:
Application form here
2019 Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award Recipient
2018 Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award Recipient
Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
Assistive Technology Specialist
Allegheny Intermediate Unit
2017 Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award Recipient
Audrey J. Smith
Professor, College of Education and Rehabilitation; Coordinator, Occupational Therapy Doctorate Low Vision Rehabilitation Track, Salus University
2016 Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award Recipient
Holly has been recognized for her years of dedication to the Penn-Del Chapter of AER. She has worked on the conference planning committee, as well as the Communications Committee. Holly is currently employed at the Western PA School for Blind Children as an Outreach Teacher.
2015 Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award Recipient
Brenda has dedicated many years of service to Penn-Del AER, serving as president, and working diligently on the Conference Committee. She is a retired school Administrator from Western PA School for Blind Children.
2014 Penn-Del AER Service Award Recipient
Dick has been the Executive Director/President of the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped since 1967. He has spent his life ensuring individuals with vision and other disabilities have opportunities to be gainfully employed, promote self-esteem and confidence in their lives.
Previous recipients of the Penn-Del AER Service Award
This award was renamed in 2015 in honor of Dr. Welsh. It is now named the Richard L. Welsh Service Award.
2013 Dr. Lynn Fox, University of Pittsburgh
2012 Sandy Finkel, Allegheny Intermediate Unit #3
2011 Mary Nelle McLennan
2010 Stephanie Van, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Pittsburgh Office
2008 Jackie Brennan, Overbrook School for the Blind
2006 Roberta O’Rourke, Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh
2004 Dr. George J. Zimmerman, University of Pittsburgh
2003 Dr. Richard Welsh, Pittsburgh Vision Services
2002 Deborah Armbruster, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Pittsburgh Office
2001 Judy van Naerssen, Overbrook School for the Blind
1999 Pamela Whittaker, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Altoona Office
1998 Rich Peters, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Pittsburgh Office