Carriuolo in attendance as Rep. Langevin gavels House into session

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, in January 2010.
When Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin ’90 presided over the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo was in the gallery to share the occasion with the RIC grad.

Langevin, who is quadriplegic, was able to gavel the House into session on July 26 because the speaker’s rostrum on the House floor was recently made wheelchair-accessible.

The event coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I was so pleased and proud to be present to see one of RIC’s illustrious alums presiding over the House of Representatives,” Carriuolo said. “Of course, the event had many layers of meaning for me. As a college community, we value diversity and appreciate the ways that the act and its updating have made higher education more accessible for students with disabilities of all types.”

The architect of the Capitol worked with the speaker's office to install a series of lifts and moving platforms over the last year to make the rostrum fully accessible by wheelchair. Langevin’s gavel was also specially crafted by House woodworkers to ensure it was easy for him to maneuver.

“I have long said that I may be the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress, but I won’t be the last,” said Langevin, a five-term representative from Rhode Island and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus.

Langevin, who also received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service degree from RIC in 2004, said, “This was an extremely proud moment for me and helped to renew my spirit as we continue to remove barriers and strengthen the [Americans with Disabilities Act] for millions of Americans with disabilities in the decades to come.”

Carriuolo said that RIC has been “enriched” by students who have been encouraged to attend college because of the legislation.“Our Sherlock Center on Disabilities is nationally known for its work, and, on a personal level, I have spent part of my career teaching students with disabilities,” she added.

While in Washington, Carriuolo also attended a reception hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that recognized the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act.