Community Productions

2011: Breaking Down Disability Barriers, The Legacy Of Tim Nugent


How did the U of I help shape the way the nation thinks about disability? A radio documentary by Urbana Uni High students, airing at 10 am Thursday, Nov. 24, at 11 am Friday, Nov. 25, on WILL-AM 580, looks at the days when disabled students were new on the U of I campus and at the U of I Beckwith program that allows students with severe disabilities to live on campus.

Throughout history, when people have faced barriers to achievement, those barriers always have a breaking point, says Kevin Fritz, who graduated last May from the University of Illinois. “It just takes the right people and the right fights and the consistency to break them down,” he said.

Fritz is one of the people with disabilities interviewed for a new radio documentary by Urbana University Laboratory High School students. It looks at the days when disabled students were new on the U of I campus, and how the U of I helped shape the way the nation thought about disability. Airing on WILL-AM 580 at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (repeated at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25), it also looks at the university’s Beckwith program, a comprehensive assistance model that allows students with severe disabilities to live on campus while attending college.

Also interviewed are Mark Chenail, Adrienne Dahnke, Jean Driscoll, Chuck Elmer, Anjali Forber-Pratt, Mike Frogley, Joshua George, Jon Gunderson, Brad Hedrick, John Hobson, Corey Hyslop, Carl Lewis, Paige Lewis, Jenna Lungaro, Pat Malik, Marty Morse, Lola Nosker, Tim Nugent, Carmen Sutherland and Reo Wilhour.

Breaking Down Disability Barriers: The Journey Toward Equality at the U of I was directed by Dave Dickey of Illinois Public Media and Uni High teacher Janet Morford. Producers were Katherine Floess and Sheela Gogula. Interviews were conducted by Uni students from the classes of 2011 and 2014.

Dickey said the project is related to a previous Uni student documentary about Tim Nugent’s legacy at the U of I. “This is an amazing story that needed to be captured and told to people beyond those in the disability community,” he said. “The voices of people involved in the story needed to be heard.”