The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field: 2014 Nominations

The APH Hall of Fame logo

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is currently accepting nominations for 2014. The nominating deadline is Friday, March 28, 2014.

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field honors, at present, 52 individuals who were pioneers in the blindness field and shaped the field’s history, philosophy, knowledge, and skills, while providing outstanding service to people who were blind and visually impaired.

During my visit to the Hall of Fame in 2012, I was in awe as I read the biographies of Dr. Natalie Barraga, whose eloquent writings first drew me into the field; Dr. Douglas Inkster, who hired me for my first job; Father Thomas Carroll, whose words still inspire me; and Dr. Ruth Kaarlela, the founder of my profession, vision rehabilitation therapy.

The Wall of Tribute: Friends of Leaders and Legends is housed within the Hall of Fame and provides the opportunity to honor an influential teacher, mentor, organization, or historical figure in the field of blindness or visual impairment:

The APH Hall of Fame Wall of Tribute

American Printing House for the Blind and the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. APH specializes in creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind or visually impaired, including accessible books and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and computer file formats; educational products; independent living products; and product training seminars. You can learn more about APH’s long and storied history at the APH website.

The Hall of Fame Nomination Process

From the Hall of Fame Nomination Guidelines:

What are the Criteria?

Persons who have made significant contributions to improve the lives of those who are blind or visually impaired in such areas as professional practice, research, writing, leadership, direct service, and/or in their professional organizations.

The APH Hall of Fame interior

Who is Eligible?

Persons are eligible five years after departure/retirement from positions in which their significant lifetime body of work was made. Individuals from North America are eligible for nomination. (North America is defined as the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean).

What is Required?

Nominators must submit a comprehensive nomination packet including a nomination form and three letters of support. Electronic submission of the form and support letters is preferred. Letters of support may be emailed to Kathy Smiddy at or mailed to her at American Printing House for the Blind, Hall of Fame, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206, or faxed to 502-899-2334. The nomination process will close on Friday, March 28, 2014.

You can visit the Hall of Fame website to take a virtual tour and learn more about the nomination process and current inductees.

Memories of One Illustrious Hall of Fame Member

From Father Thomas Carroll: A Leader and a Legend, the transcript of a speech by APH President Dr. Tuck Tinsley III at the Father Carroll Luncheon, Blinded Veterans Association Convention:

Father Carroll never shied away from a topic or a challenge that needed to be addressed, even when it put him in possible conflict with friends and with common thought or common practice. He “called ’em as he saw them.” He was gutsy. He took on tough issues and did it aloud, for all to witness.

He believed in the dignity and individuality of all people and fought endlessly to assure that our country’s rehabilitation systems respected that dignity and individuality as well.

He opposed special privilege for blind individuals which “would set you apart from society in one way or another.” He opposed “fragrance gardens.” He opposed free fishing licenses and free bus fares, saying each is “dangerous because of the harm it can do to public attitudes about blindness and the blind – about you!” He counseled you to “Be sure that your every activity leads toward integration rather than segregation.”

Father Carroll spoke bluntly, yet blamelessly, about those who would exploit blindness for fund-raising purposes. He confronted this trend, saying “What must be fought is the selfish use of blindness… Here especially they can separate you from the rest of society by arousing a pity for you… that will do harm to blind persons living or as yet unborn.” He cautioned that “Your obligation is to see that the emotional appeal has always a reasonable foundation.”

What You Can Do

Father Carroll is but one of 52 distinguished, dedicated, and inspirational “blindness legends.” Please consider nominating a leader, mentor, teacher, or professional to the APH Hall of Fame – and take some time to explore the contributions of these visionary pioneers at the Hall of Fame website.

More Hall of Fame Inductees