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Celebrating Ability

Max Murch, who is deaf, graduated from Mizzou in May with a degree in general studies and a focus on architecture. Murch says the MU Disability Center helped him to access the accommodations he needed to succeed at Mizzou.

May graduate Max Murch never let a disability hinder him from pursuing his dream of becoming a project designer. As a self-motivated student, he found ways to work with being deaf. He regularly sought assistance outside the classroom with a tutor, and he used an interpreter if communication with others became difficult. When it came time to take exams or to make phone calls, he was in the MU Disability Center up to twice a week for help.

Since graduating with a degree in general studies, Murch has been working full time at a real estate commercial firm as the project designer he always wanted to be. He says the experience might not have been possible without the help of the Disability Center.

“The Disability Center helped me prepare for the real world by grasping how important it is to communicate with people, whether I’d sign or talk, text, etc.,” Murch says.

Formerly MU Disability Services, the Disability Center eliminated the word “service” from its name June 1.

“The idea of services has always rankled me,” says Barbara Hammer, the director of the Disability Center. “We’re not a place where people have their disabilities serviced.”

When she became director in 2007, Hammer made it a goal to alter the way the center is seen. She pointed out that the connotation of “services” perpetuated a medical image of disabilities. Before the change, students and faculty were surveyed about whether the word “disability” should be in the title of the center. A majority of those surveyed said yes, so when the name of the center was modified, it retained “disability” but removed “services.”


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Campus: UMC
Key words: Health, MU Campus, UM System,
County: Boone