Former Disability Services director dies at 61
The long-time Wright State Director of Disability Services Jeffrey Vernooy died Monday at the Hospice of Dayton. He was 61.
Vernooy’s memorial service is set for Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Kindred Funeral Home in Englewood.
Vernooy announced his retirement as director after Memorial Day weekend due to health issues, according to Interim Director of Disability Services Katherine Myers. He planned on returning to the college in the spring as a visiting professor teaching rehab courses assuming his health would improve.
“We knew he would retire eventually, just not so soon,” Myers said.
Myers said the Office of Disability Services is not just nationally recognized, but internationally recognized as a leader.
“I look back on his tireless effort,” Myers said. “Not just for those with disabilities but for everyone including the LGBT community.”
That was a point that WSU President David Hopkins made in an email to the campus community.
“Jeff has been a role model and an inspiration to many on our campus and throughout the state for his passion and dedication to providing opportunities to all,” Hopkins said in the email. “Although his position was listed in the Office of Disability Services, he has been a tireless advocate on behalf of gender equality, racial equality, rights for the LGBT community and religious freedom.”
Myers said one of Vernooy’s greatest legacies was convincing administration that Disability Services approve all blueprints for construction on campus to insure accessibility to students and staff.
Vernooy joined WSU’s Disability Services in 1977. He worked in various roles within the office before becoming its director in 1998.
Myers will serve in the interim as Disability Services director.
“He was the only supervisor I ever had here,” Myers said. “I had the fortunate pleasure of working 19 years with him and learning from him.”