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Posted 8-14-2002


National Federation of the Blind President to Receive Robert Dole Award


BALTIMORE, MD --- Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National
Federation of the Blind, has been named the recipient of this year's
Robert Dole Award, presented annually by Volunteers for Medical Engineering,
Inc.


Cosponsored by Comcast, the Robert Dole Award was established by VME in
1998 "to honor and recognize the many individuals who fight to overcome
significant obstacles every day in their lives and to honor one special
individual who exemplifies that struggle toward significant accomplishment,"
according to Award Chair C. Albert Ruppersberger.


"I can think of no one who better exemplifies the ideals that are embodied
in the Dole Award than Marc Maurer," notes Mr. Ruppersberger. "In leading
NFB to become the nation's preeminent organization promoting security,
opportunity, and equality for the blind and through his own personal
example, Dr. Maurer has helped to significantly change what it means to be
blind."


The Robert Dole Award will be presented to Dr. Maurer at Oriole Park at
Camden Yards, prior to the Orioles-Devil Rays game on Wednesday, August 21
(first pitch at 7:05 p.m.; pre-game ceremonies at approximately 6:45 p.m.).
Dr. Maurer, whose blindness was caused by overexposure to oxygen after his
premature birth, has been President of NFB since 1986. A cum laude graduate
of the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Maurer became active in NFB as a teen
and, by the age of 20, was elected to serve simultaneously as President of
the organization's Student Division and as Vice President of the National
Federation of the Blind of Indiana. He was reelected to both positions in
1973 and, again, in 1975.


Dr. Maurer went on to obtain a law degree from the University of Indiana
School of Law and to serve in the Office of the General Counsel of the Civil
Aeronautics Board before entering private practice in Baltimore,
specializing in representing blind individuals and groups. Today, he is one
of the foremost legal authorities in the country on matters pertaining to
civil rights and discrimination against the blind.


As President of NFB, Dr. Maurer has spearheaded such groundbreaking
initiatives as NFB-NEWSLINE, a service that employs synthesized speech to
deliver an audio version of newspaper text for more than 60 newspapers
nationally to blind individuals, and NFB's National Research and Training
Institute for the Blind, an international center for research, training, and
new innovations designed to improve the lives of blind people, which is now
under construction in Baltimore.


Dr. Maurer has spoken extensively on issues of concern to the blind. He was
a guest lecturer at Oxford and Birmingham Universities in the UK in 2000,
and represented the US at the dedication of the Louis Braille Memorial
Birthplace in France. He also chaired the international Commission of Aging
Panel at the quadrennial convention of the World Blind Union in Toronto.
The editor of the Kernel Book Series, Dr. Maurer has been honored with
honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Louisville and Menlo
College. He was awarded the US Presidential Medal for Leadership in 1990.

VME's Robert Dole Award was named for and presented to Senator Robert Dole
in 1999 in recognition of his achievements in the military and in public
service, despite debilitating injuries he received in World War II. Other
recipients of the award include Dan Keplinger, star of the Oscar-winning
documentary "King Gimp," and Arriving Naylor, who has maintained much of his
corporate involvement as owner of four East Coast ski resorts despite a
paralyzing fall from a horse in 1999.


VME, a not-for-profit organization based in Baltimore, works to improve the
independence of individuals with disabilities through the application of
innovative engineering and technology. For the past 20 years, VME has been
creating uniquely engineered devices to assist individuals with disabilities
in their daily living activities.


The National Federation of the Blind, headquartered in Baltimore, MD, is a
consumer-based organization of more than 50,000 blind people throughout the
US whose primary purpose is to promote security, opportunity, and equality
for those who are blind or visually impaired.

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