[Ct-nfb] Retirement of Dr. Maurer

Justin Salisbury PRESIDENT at alumni.ecu.edu
Mon Dec 2 00:25:46 UTC 2013

From: "Fredric Schroeder" <fschroeder at sks.com>


Over the weekend, I participated in a meeting of the board of directors
of the National Federation of the Blind. The meeting was held at our
national headquarters in Baltimore.

As you know, Dr. Marc Maurer has been our national president since
1986. He has served as president longer than any of our previous
presidents and has guided us through a period of unprecedented growth
and change. It was under Dr. Maurer's leadership that we established
the Jernigan Institute and all of the programs that have been so
successful in demonstrating the truth of our assertion that given
proper opportunity and training, blind people can live and work as others.

In particular we have developed many programs designed to provide blind
children and youth with the skills and confidence they need to compete
fully in their education and to develop their life ambitions. We have
conducted the Youth Slam, Science Academy, and more recently theBELL

In the area of technology under Dr. Maurer's leadership we developed
the KNFB Reader Mobile allowing blind people to have immediate access
to print with nothing more than a cell phone and special software. And
then there was the Blind Driver Challenge. There is no question that
lack of access to reliable transportation remains a major barrier for
blind people. Yet, the Blind Driver Challenge showed that we could
develop the technology to enable a blind person to drive a car, not
simply sit passively in a car that drives itself.

These are the expressions of Dr. Maurer's leadership. Yet at the heart
of his leadership is his spirit and his belief in every blind person.
He has inspired and encouraged us, faced the most difficult challenges
with resolution and strength, and he has kept us together, and never
let us waiver in our belief in our own right to live normal, productive

On Saturday afternoon Dr. Maurer told the board that it is his
intention to not seek reelection to the presidency next summer at our
national convention. He feels the time is right to transition to the
next president, the next individual who can lead us for a quarter century or
more. Dr.
Maurer is in good health and believes that it is important that he step
down from the presidency while he is able to assist with the transition. Dr.
Maurer told the board that he, Dr. Maurer, plans to support Mr. Mark
Riccobono as the next president of the National Federation of the Blind.

Mr. Riccobono presently serves as the Executive Director of the
Jernigan Institute. He is an accomplished individual with the strength
and wisdom to assume the serious responsibility of leading our
movement. He has brought to his work the imagination and competency we
demand from our president.

We are truly fortunate that within the Federation we have individuals
who are able and willing to give all they have to furthering our move
toward true equality. The demands of the NFB presidency are
unimaginable. We require our leader to give all of his time, all of his
imagination, and all of his personal reserve of judgment to leading our
organization. This is what Dr. Maurer has done for the past 27 and a
half years, and it is what Mark Riccobono will do for the time of his

The transition brings to an end one chapter in our history and what a
glorious chapter it has been. We cannot face the loss of Dr. Maurer's
leadership without a sense of sadness; but the transition to a new
president is not just the absence of what we had before. The transition
heralds a new chapter in our history and with it, new opportunities-the
chance to take all that has come before and build something bigger and
more powerful than we have ever known.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Maurer for his leadership, his
friendship and his faithful devotion to our cause; and please join me
in wishing Mark Riccobono the very best as he seeks to take the
foundation that is all that has come before and build upon it the next great
chapter in our history.

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