University of Maryland


George Kerscher Receives Catalyst Award

March 2nd, 2004

The 2004 Harry Murphy Catalyst Award was presented to George Kerscher at the CSUN Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference on March 16, 2004. This biennial award is presented by the Trace Center to honor those who bring people together and facilitate the efforts of others in the field of technology and disability. Past award winners are Judy Brewer (2002) and Harry Murphy (2000).

George Kerscher began working on document access in 1987 and has been a tireless advocate and leader ever since. He coined the term “print disabled” to describe people who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability, and believes that in the Information Age access to information is a fundamental human right. He also believes that properly designed information systems can make all information accessible to all people, and has worked consistently and effectively to push evolving technologies in that direction.

Although his personal accomplishments stand on their own, he is receiving the award for the quiet work he has done advancing the efforts of others in this area. Never one to take credit to himself, he has helped foster and advance the work of many and brings out the best in teams that he is associated with. He has also spearheaded the creation of, and then quietly bore a large share of the support for, key groups that we have all come to rely on in this area.

Currently, George Kerscher is Senior Officer of Accessible Information at Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) in the USA, Secretary General for the DAISY Consortium, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Open eBook Forum (OeBF), and Co-chair of the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).