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Marca Bristo

Class of 1974

Awarded in 1989

A 1977 diving accident that could have been life-shattering to a less courageous person propelled you into a career of service as a national leader and articulate spokeswoman in the disability rights movement. And it was on the Beloit campus that your worldview was changed and your passion for social justice was inspired as a sociology major challenged by Professors Donald Summers and Marlynn May. A registered nurse who in 1979 founded Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago as the city’s only non-residential, independent living program for the disabled, you have directed it from affiliation with the Rehabilitation Institute to corporate reorganization as a non-profit, membership agency with a staff of 40 and annual budget of $1-1/2 million. Consultant and advisor, you serve on prominent local, state, and national boards, task forces, and commissions and are co-founder and immediate past president of the National Council on Independent Living. Your efforts to create full integration and equal opportunities for the disabled have earned you recognition from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the US Department of Education and from the Illinois secretary of state’s office…and selection as 1989 Arneson Award recipient by the People to People Committee for the Handicapped, as one of the Chicago Tribune’s  “88 People to Watch in 1988, “ and as one of “Ten Outstanding Citizens of Chicago” by the Junior Association of Commerce and Industry. Beloit College proudly acknowledges your dynamic, creative, and significant achievements by awarding you this citation.