Sister Gabrielle Kowalski earns prestigious designation

Friday, February 14, 2014 5:15:00 PM

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) has named professor emerita Sister Gabrielle Kowalski, OSF, Ph.D., Fellow of the Association.

Sister Gabrielle

The designation of fellow is a prestigious honor, awarded only to those who meet several nomination requirements, including:

  • seven years of continuous membership in the association
  • participation in the association’s business and professional manners
  • demonstrated meritorious contribution to the field of intellectual disabilities

A committee of AAIDD leaders further reviews the nominees and makes the final decision.       

“The designation as Fellow is truly an honor because it represents the high regard of leadership in the field of intellectual disability,” said Sister Gabrielle.

In 2014, nine individuals were chosen to receive fellowship in the association. Sister Gabrielle hopes to attend the formal ceremony of induction for the new fellows in June at the AAIDD’s annual meeting in Orlando.

Sister Gabrielle began her work with the AAIDD through its Wisconsin chapter. She has served as president of the Religion and Spirituality Division and as a member of the committee which redesigned the process for accrediting pastoral workers.

“The most rewarding aspects of my involvement have been to see religion and spirituality become an integral part of person-centered planning with individuals with intellectual disabilities, to see religious denominations and congregations welcome these individuals, and to see religion and spirituality as valid areas for research in the field,” said Sister Gabrielle.

Last summer, Sister Gabrielle received the Henri Nouwen Award from the Religion and Spirituality Division of the AAIDD. The award “recognizes and acknowledges individuals who reflect the compassion, commitment, ministry and servanthood that value and esteem people with developmental disabilities.”

She has spent more than 40 years advocating for people with intellectual disabilities, with a special emphasis on respecting and supporting their spiritual lives. After teaching special education classes and leading the department at Stritch, she recently retired as a professor emerita.

The AAIDD, established in 1876, is the oldest professional organization focused on developmental and intellectual disabilities.

For additional information and to view the complete list of 2014 fellows, visit the AAIDD online.