Alumnus nominated to National Council on Disability by Obama

Clyde Terry ’74

Jamie Loftus '13
February 18, 2011

Clyde Terry ’74 has been nominated to the National Council on Disability by President Obama. The Council, which was founded as an independent federal agency in 1978, affects positive change in government disability policies. It includes 15 members selected by the President, who is advised by Senate members.

The executive and legislative branches of the government often consult with Council members about the promotion of equal work opportunities for the physically and mentally disabled, with the intent to encourage independent living, integration, and elimination of discrimination in all areas of American society. The Council meets four times a year to frankly discuss potential policy changes and the progress that can still be accomplished for disabled Americans.

Following his graduation from Emerson College in 1974, Terry dedicated his professional life to the equal treatment and rights of disabled people in America, promoting their ability to live independently and support themselves financially. He has served as the CEO of Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) since 2002, organizing service activities, managing its grant, and promoting independent rights and economic self-sufficiency for disabled citizens of New Hampshire.

Clyde Terry '74

Clyde Terry ’74, far right, with fellow Alumni Award recipients Judyann Johnson Elder ’67, actor; and Michael Mendenhall ’84, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, at the award ceremony in June 2010.

GSIL has been recognized for its nonprofit efforts multiple times over the years, being chosen as New Hampshire radio station WOKQ’s nonprofit of the year, as well as receiving The Corporate Fund’s Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management in 2009. Before holding that position, Terry served as executive director of the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council, as well as kick-starting a national coalition of disability organizations that dealt with election reform and access for citizens with disabilities.

In recognition of his continuous work in public service, Terry was honored by Emerson College in 2010 with the prestigious Alumni Award for Achievements in Communication and the Arts, along with fellow alumni Michael Mendenhall ’84, Judyann Johnson Elder ’67, and Brendan McCarthy ’04. This is the highest honor that can be awarded to an Emerson alumnus or alumna.

Terry accepted the Emerson Alumni Award with grace and enthusiasm during last year’s Alumni Weekend festivities. His dedication to his cause stems from a personal origin, having been diagnosed with glaucoma early in life. His work aptly demonstrates that no obstacle is too great to hinder the progress of disabled citizens throughout America; more than half of his current staff at GSIL have disabilities and stand as perfect examples of disabled Americans succeeding in the workplace.