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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30th Anniversary

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This landmark civil rights law has impacted the lives of millions of people with disabilities in the United States by improving access to employment, education, services and programs.

This week we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the most sweeping disability rights legislation in history. Since its passage on July 26, 1990, the ADA has increased access and opportunity for people with disabilities. Yet three decades later, we know that too many coworkers, students and neighbors continue to face barriers to inclusion – to fully participating in and contributing their talents to our workplaces and learning communities.

As we mark this milestone, William & Mary reaffirms our commitment to dismantle barriers, eliminate stigma, and accelerate access and equity. While we have made real strides in our workplaces, our campus and buildings and our technology, much work remains in pursuing universal access via universal design. Through this shared effort, we advance our value of belonging and lift up the inherent abilities found within all of us. 

Katherine A. Rowe
July 27, 2020

History of the ADA

View the timeline below to learn more about the history of the ADA.

View the Timeline

Information & Resources
  • View the ADA Anniversary Scrapbook complied by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center.  The Scrapbook features videos, stories and remembrances of the ADA. 
  • There are several virtual events across the Mid-Atlantic Area you can attend.
  • Swem's Special Collections created this Blog in honor of the 30th Anniversary.  Many thanks to Jacob Hopkins, Jennie Davy, Ute Schechter, Sara Belmont and Dr. Regina B'tzalya.
  • The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center has several  online publications including disability related resources, news and other items of interest. 
  • Learn more about ADA law through the ADA National Network
  • Learn more about disability etiquette from the Job Accommodation Network and from the ADA National Network
  • Learn about ways to Celebrate  #ADA30
  • Did you know?  The United States Census Bureau has released new data on individuals with disabilities. 
Mental Health Awareness

Mental illness, although very common, is often misunderstood.  These invisible disabilities include (list is not exhaustive)  anxiety (anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, panic disorder), depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Learn more about mental illness in the workplace.  

Emergency Preparation

There are many steps people with disabilities can take to prepare for emergencies, and one of the most important is creating an action plan. The following resources provide important information on emergency planning and response.

William & Mary's Emergency Management Team, and Emergency Management Coordinator, [[katowner, Kenton Towner]] assist the university in emergency preparation and response.  All members of the William & Mary Community are encouraged to download the RAVE Guardian app to stay safe both on and off campus.


The Virginia Department of Elections provides information about voter registration, accessible voting options, and accessible polling locations. The VDE also provides assistance with the voting process.  

July 13-17 is National Disability Voter Registration Week!

The ADA protects the rights of voters with disabilities under Title II.  Voting rights are also protected under other Federal Laws.   

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! National Disability Employment Awareness Month was declared in 1988 by the United States Congress for the month of October to raise awareness of the employment needs and contributions of people with all types of disabilities.  Learn more from the Office of Disability Employment Policy which promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities.

30th Anniversary Committee

This group came together to provide information and resources for the W&M Community on the history and importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

[[cacostello, Carla Costello]], ADA/504 Coordinator, Deputy Compliance Officer
[[sggatl, Sharron Gatling]], Office of Human Resources
[[ljhenderson, Lesley Henderson]], Director of Student Accessibility Services
[[acwhiston, Anna Whiston]], Coordinator of Student Accessibility Services
Chon Glover, Chief Diversity Officer, is assisting the committee as an advisor.

Have ideas for this website? Contact a committee member!