The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental
Disabilities (AAIDD) has named professor emerita Sister Gabrielle Kowalski,
OSF, Ph.D., Fellow of the Association.
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
- participation in the association’s business and
- 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
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