Chancellor Syverud, University Dedicate Wheelchair Ramp for Holden Observatory

October 26, 2015
The accessibility ramp to Holden Observatory was dedicated during a ceremony on Friday. Photos by Steve Sartori

The accessibility ramp to Holden Observatory was dedicated during a ceremony on Friday. Photos by Steve Sartori

The moon and the stars—and all the universe—as viewed through the lens of Holden Observatory became accessible to everyone Friday.

The University celebrated the dedication and opening of the new wheelchair entrance ramp for Holden Observatory in honor of Disability Awareness Month, and as part of Orange Central.

Speaking at the dedication, Chancellor Kent Syverud noted the significance of making the observatory available to everyone. It is a primary goal within the recently completed Academic Strategic Plan to “sustain an inclusive, accessible campus of opportunity.”

“One crucial piece of that effort is ensuring that this campus and University are free of any and all barriers to learning and discovery,” Chancellor Syverud said.

The ramp signifies that commitment, but it also signifies something greater. “Not just accessible, but beautifully accessible in a way that models inclusion as an integral part of a great education and a great university,” Chancellor Syverud said.

Chancellor Syverud also recognized how the ramp “further reflects Syracuse’s long history of commitment to accessibility and inclusion,” from the College of Law’s program in law and disability studies—the first in the nation—to the work of the Burton Blatt Institute at the University and programs like Inclusive U.

Those gathered had the opportunity to hear from University Professor Stephen Kuusisto, director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program and professor of disability studies in the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies in the School of Education.

“I thank University Professor Stephen Kuusisto for his beautiful remarks,” Chancellor Syverud said. “I want all of you to know I am working with Stephen to explore pulling together help from all parts of this great university toward a truly interdisciplinary initiative and disabilities research and education. I thank him for helping us lead this effort.”

After the dedication, Marvin Druger, professor emeritus of biology and science teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences, led guided tours of the Holden Observatory and the Patricia Meyers Druger Astronomy Learning Center.

The second-oldest building on campus, Holden Observatory has been an architectural icon since its opening in 1887. The new Learning Center is named in honor of Patricia Druger G’74, Marvin Druger’s wife, a longtime administrator in the Department of Biology and the Writing Program, who passed away in January 2014.

Marvin Druger decided to refurbish the observatory in honor of his late wife’s love of astronomy. The renovated observatory was reopened in March 2015.