RIC to open new Sherlock Center on Disabilities Oct. 20

The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, founded at Rhode Island College in 1993, will open the doors to its new site on the college’s east campus, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.

The mission of the new 11,350 square foot center is to promote community membership of individuals with disabilities in school, work, and society. The Sherlock Center is a federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, & Service.

The building was renovated through the use of $3.3 million in funding from the State of Rhode Island 2006 Higher Education bonds.

The Sherlock Center building was once part of the Rhode Island State Home and School, the state’s orphanage. The center now includes a resource library, training facilities, and professional offices. The library contains resource materials for individuals with disabilities, family members, and service providers, and features adapted literature, software, and assistive technology. Seminars on a wide range of topics will also be held at the center.

Paul Sherlock
Since 1963, University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) have worked towards a shared vision that individuals with disabilities participate fully in their communities. Independence, productivity, and community inclusion are key components of this vision. There are 67 UCEDDs, with at least one in every state.

Locally, the Sherlock Center partners with Rhode Island state and local government agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, and community providers to support membership of individuals with disabilities. Projects and initiatives provide training, technical assistance, service, research, and information sharing.

Nationally, the Sherlock Center is a member of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. Regionally, the Sherlock Center collaborates with the other New England UCEDDs to accomplish shared outcomes.

The Sherlock Center honors its namesake and carries on his legacy as a champion of education and tireless advocate for those with developmental disabilities, learning disorders, and mental illness.

Sherlock is widely regarded as the father of special education programs in Rhode Island. A professor of education at RIC, Sherlock also served as a state legislator for 25 years, and rose through the leadership ranks, serving as chairman of the House Finance Committee, a position he held until his death in 2004.