UNCW’s Groenendyk Honored for Advancing the Cause of Students with Disabilities

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Peter Groenendyk recognizes that students with disabilities fully deserve to participate and engage with peers in a meaningful way, even when it requires some creative problem-solving.

For his foresight and support, the UNCW Director of Housing and Residence Life was honored with the Laura Thomas Award. Established by the North Carolina Association on Higher Education And Disability in memory of Laura L. D. Thomas, longtime former director of disability services at UNC Chapel Hill and a pioneer in disability services, the award recognizes an individual outside of disability services who has demonstrated exemplary support of the cause within an academic setting.

“Peter has shown himself to be a true ally to those seeking meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities,” Chris Stone, director of the UNCW Disability Resource Center, wrote in his nomination of Groenendyk. “The DRC has the pleasure to work with a staff and leadership in HRL who recognize the shared role in ensuring students with disabilities are given the opportunity for access – as well as inclusion – within the university residential facilities.”

Groenendyk joined UNCW in 2015 after serving as the associate dean of students at the University of Memphis.

“This award is a reflection of the Division of Student Affairs’ commitment to creating accessible and inclusive communities,” he said. “It is also evidence of the dedication our staff has for helping our students and realizing this vision. I had the honor of collecting this award on their behalf, and I’m very appreciative of the recognition of this dedicated team.”

UNCW Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Pat Leonard and Dan Johnson, associate professor in recreation therapy, are past recipients of the Thomas Award.

-- Caroline Cropp