of Texas at Arlington
UTA Office for Students with Disabilities poster, Jim Hayes in an early basketball chair, Abigail Dunkin sitting in a basketball chair, and Sam Provence in his wheelchair with cushions supporting his arms and a breathing tube.


Prior to the 1970s, K-12 schools and colleges had no legal obligation to admit or serve students with disabilities.

Like most school districts, Arlington ISD had no wheelchair-accessible campuses in the 1960s. After being paralyzed by polio at age 9, Sam Provence could no longer access public school. Instead, a teacher periodically came to his house.

Text accompanied by a black and white photo of a young smiling Sammie Provence in a wheelchair. He is wearing a large round ventilator on his chest and is surrounded by young Boy Scouts in uniform and a middle-aged woman.

Paralyzed due to polio at age 5, Joseph Rowe used his feet to paint pictures and build rockets in his garage. Although he dreamed of majoring in engineering or physics at UTA, a panel of deans told him that he was “too dangerous to allow in the science labs.” Rowe graduated from UTA in 1970 as the first business major with a 4.0 GPA.

Passage accompanied by a black and white photo of Joseph Rowe in his graduation cap and gown. He is wearing glasses, leaning back in a wheelchair, and holding a ventilator tube in his mouth. He holds a paintbrush in his foot and is almost done with a painting of lake and clouds.

The difficulty of navigating inaccessible campuses Science Hall led students such as John Dycus to take creative approaches to getting to class. “I had a sociology class in Science Hall’s big amphitheater room,” he explained. “My mother would stand behind the door when the class let out and peer inside there to make sure I was able to get out.” Dycus added, “That’s before I had the motorized chair and I had to ask somebody to give me a push up the ramp.”

Text paired with a black and white photo of young, bearded John Dycus smiling while he drives his van with hand controls and a black and white photo of Science Hall with snow around it. The image shows the three-story building behind a street corner and curb that has no curb cuts. Cars are parked at the curb.


Local Timeline

1968 Sam Provence, John Dycus, and Joseph Rowe found the Handicap Club
1969 Texas Senate Bill 111 mandates that all public buildings and facilities become accessible and usable by physically handicapped and disabled citizens
1970 UTA installs the first curb ramps
1974 Texas Rehabilitation Commission and UTA each commit $34,000 to remove architectural barriers from campus, and Student Congress adds $200
1976 Jim Hayes establishes Freewheelers wheelchair basketball team; Sam Provence, John Dycus, Jim Hayes, and allies found the Arlington Handicapped Association
1978 UTA begins coordinating live-in attendants to allow students with severe mobility impairments to live on campus
1979 Handitran paratransit service established in Arlington
1981 Arlington Handicapped Association establishes Peach Street Apartments for independent living
1984 UTA alums Jim Hayes and Randy Snow, plus future UTA student Abu Yilla, compete in the Paralympics
1986 Jim Hayes pushes his wheelchair from Austin to Arlington to raise money for the Arlington Handicapped Association
1989 Cooper Street construction begins; Andy Beck killed on Cooper Street; UTA offers the first full-ride scholarships for adapted sports in the country
1991 Newly renamed Movin’ Mavs win the first of their four back-to-back national championships
1999 Per4Max Medical customized wheelchair company founded by Movin’ Mavs alum Willie Hernandez
2013 UTA Disability Studies Minor and Lady Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team established
2016 Lady Movin’ Mavs win first national championship

National Timeline

1948 University of Illinois starts serving students with disabilities; National Wheelchair Basketball Association and Stoke Mandeville Games start
1960 First Paralympic Games in Rome, Italy
1968 Congress passes the Architectural Barriers Act
1969 UC Berkeley students establish the Rolling Quads (later the Disabled Students Union)
1970 UC Berkeley establishes the Physically Disabled Students’ Program, serving students who need attendants
1972 Ed Roberts and other disability rights activists establish the first Center for Independent Living in Berkeley
1973 Congress passes the first broad disability rights law: section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
1977 Nationwide protests force the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to issue regulations enacting section 504
1988 Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act passed
1996 Not Dead Yet founded
1998 U.S. Supreme Court includes people with HIV in ADA
1999 U.S. Supreme Court mandates that people with disabilities have the right to live in the community (Olmstead v. L. C.) but also guts the ADA’s employment provisions
2008 Congress passes the ADA Amendments Act
2016 over 3,000 people with cognitive disabilities remain institutionalized in Texas state schools


In the late 1960s, a few students with disabilities began advocating for UTA to become a barrier-free campus.

In September 1968, undergraduates Sam Provence, John Dycus, and Joseph Rowe founded the Handicap Club (soon renamed the Handicapped Students Association) and began pressing the UTA administration to make the campus more accessible.

Passage accompanied by UTA Shorthorn news article announcing formation of the Handicap Club and a black and white photo of six students using wheelchairs and two students standing behind them.

Since campus streets lacked curb cuts, service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega built temporary wooden ramps. The growing number of disabled students at UTA, however, sought a more permanent solution. Drawing on a 1969 Texas law intended to make “public buildings and facilities accessible to, and usable, by physically handicapped and disabled citizens,” the Handicapped Students Association asked administrators to provide concrete ramps.

Text paired with UTA Shorthorn article entitled “Mini-Driveways Help Out: Handicapped Students Association on the Move,” plus a black and white photo of a smiling Sam Provence in a wheelchair with a desk and his legs crossed. He is about to go down a steep curb ramp with the help of fellow college student.

“The Big Tour”: In 1973, HSA invited President Wendell Nedderman and other administrators to try navigating UTA’s campus using wheelchairs. He recalled, “That was very enlightening. For the first time, it became clear how the men's restroom is a major, major problem. It became clear that a curb, which looks simple to most people, was a major problem. The tour started the real movement toward improving the campus for the handicapped.”

Passage accompanied by a black and white photo of President Wendell Nedderman in a wheelchair looking at a wall of urinals that are too high for him to use.


“Every curb cut in Arlington should have Sam’s name on it”: One of the last people to contract polio in Tarrant County, Sam Provence (1949-1982) entered Arlington State College in fall 1965 alongside John Dycus and Joseph Rowe. While earning his BA in Management and an MA in History at UTA, Provence co-founded the Handicap Club in 1968 (later renamed the Handicapped Students Association) and the Arlington Handicapped Association in 1976. Not only did Provence continually press UTA administrators to better serve students with disabilities, but from the 1970s to the early 1980s, he also served as Arlington’s leading advocate for disability rights and greater accessibility.

Passage accompanied by color photo of a smiling Sam Provence in a wheelchair. He has short red hair and a beard and wears glasses and an open U.S. Air Force shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His head is on a striped pillow. The control box for his power wheelchair is in the background.

“A juggernaut on wheels”: Jim Hayes (1949-2008) broke his neck in 1967 on his eighteenth birthday while diving into Lake Benbrook. He had planned to go into the Army the next day, but eventually decided to attend Tarrant County Junior College instead, where he became student body president. He transferred to UTA in 1971, majoring in History—one of the few accessible majors. Hayes never left UTA. After graduating in 1974, he established the Educational Support Services office and organized the Freewheelers wheelchair basketball team. Together with Sam Provence and other allies, Hayes fought to make UTA one of the most accessible campuses for disabled students in the country.

Passage paired with black and white photo of Jim Hayes shooting a basketball one-handed in a gym. He has a mustache and is wearing a striped shirt and pants. He is looking up at the ball and has one hand still in the air.


Although UTA was starting to become more accessible, the campus still posed barriers to students with many different types of disabilities.

During the 1973-1974 academic year, Jim Hayes began drafting a 52-page proposal, complete with architectural drawings, of how to make UTA accessible for students with all kinds of disabilities. “I am speaking of a campus which will facilitate unhindered mobility for the general handicapped student, a campus designed or otherwise altered to meet the needs of the more severely handicapped student,” explained Hayes. “Indeed, I am speaking of a campus which would set the tone and pace for the removal of ‘barriers,’ architectural and otherwise, from the educational institutions of Texas.”

Passage accompanied by the title page of Jim Hayes’ proposal, reading “A Proposal by and for Handicapped Students,” and a black and white photo of Jim Hayes shooting billiards. He has dark hair and is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tie.

At a time when disability accessibility often only meant installing ramps for people with mobility impairments, Hayes’s proposal included integrated dorms and cafeterias, talking textbooks and sensor devices for blind students, video tapes and interpreters for deaf students, and attendants for people who needed assistance with daily living, among other ideas.

Accompanied by a page from Hayes’ proposal entitled “The Model Campus,” which reads: “When beginning to consider the make-up of a model campus, it is perhaps wise to first focus our attention on adequate housing. There is little doubt that the current facilities are not adequate and to back up that statement, let me cite a very realistic example. Mr. Sam Provence, a graduate student at The University of Texas at Arlington and Chairman of the UTA Handicapped Student Association, is a quadriplegic and requires better and more specialized facilities than most handicapped students. Sam is an individual with one of the finest minds that I have encountered for a long time. But Sam was denied admission to a Texas Law School because the Texas Vocational Rehabilitation Commission would not fund his education unless he could reside in the dorm. The dorm wasn’t equipped for Sam and he consequently returned to UTA for a secondary choice of graduate work. The tragedy of it all was that Sam was forced—for better or worse—to compromise on his education because of a lack of facilities. UTA was not adequately equipped either, but it was less hazardous than most. Indeed, adequate housing is a must when preparing for the handicapped student.”
There’s also an image of an architectural drawing of an accessible toilet stall and one of a beaming Sam Provence sitting in his wheelchair in front of a wall of books. He has a red beard and glasses and is wearing overalls. His MA diploma is in front of the chair.


“Nedderman’s and Duke’s foresight was very important in pushing curb cuts, wider bathroom stalls, and accessible dorms before the law required them,” recalled former Vice President of Student Affairs Kent Gardner.

“The highlight of my career? That UTA became known as one of the best universities in the country to serve disabled students,” recalled Wayne Duke, former Vice President of Student Affairs. “Why did we do that? Well, my philosophy was, well, let’s take a student like Sam Provence or many others, by getting an education they’ll be able to support themselves and they’ll have far more self-esteem. That’s what drove me to make this campus as accessible as I could.”

Passage accompanied by a black and white headshot of Wayne Duke wearing a suit and tie.

Administrators were far from the only people who sought to make UTA more accessible for students with disabilities. Student Congress regularly passed resolutions, calling on the administration to address inaccessible areas. The Texas Rehabilitation Commission also awarded UTA $34,000 in 1974 to reduce barriers; President Nedderman matched this grant with another $34,000.

Text paired with a UTA Student Congress resolution on “Aid for Handicapped Students.” It was passed in 1972. The resolution reads “Whereas, at the present time facilities for the handicapped are shamefully few, and whereas, it is inexcusable for these students to be ignored as they have been, and whereas, a longer waiting period for these facilities compounds the problems of the handicapped…”

As housing director, Kent Gardner worked to make dorms like Brazos Hall fully accessible so that disabled students could live on campus with their classmates, among many other projects. He commented, “We had an opportunity as the campus was growing to do not what the law was going to say eventually, but what’s right.”

Text accompanied by a color headshot of Ken Gardner wearing a navy suit with a light-blue tie and vest. He is smiling. Photo of Brazos Dorm Council members.


Hayes wanted disabled students to have the same opportunities as their able-bodied classmates.

“I got a phone call from Jim Hayes in 1976. I didn’t know how to play basketball, but he promised me a starting job on the team if I came to the first practice,” recalled founding Freewheelers member and Vietnam veteran Ron LaBar. “I just wanted to do something that required physical education. We traveled in an RV with a lift and would play anybody in the first few years—faculty teams, students, the Dallas team.”

Text paired with a montage of three black and white photos.
The first photo shows two Freewheelers and two opponents in a wheelchair basketball game. The one in the foreground is looking at the person in the middle, who is about to shoot the basketball over the head of an opponent. The opponent is looking up at the basketball and the other opponent in the background is looking at the camera. The second photo shows four Freewheelers and Jim Hayes sitting in chairs in front of the RV that the team used for traveling to games. The players are Danny Williams, Chris Cooper (#40), Jimmie Strader (#12), and Eddie Bland (#23). They are in very early wheelchair basketball chairs which have only a slight camber. All four players are in jeans and basketball jerseys, while Jim Hayes is wearing a dress shirt, tie, and dress pants.The third photo shows Ron LaBar (#23) wheeling his chair after a bouncing basketball. His face is cast in shadow. He is a double leg amputee.

“I'll tell you an incident that happened to me which made a powerful impact,” recalled former UTA President Wendell Nedderman. “I was impressed with the vigor with which the Freewheelers played. Everybody was out for blood. And if somebody tipped over, too bad. They’re going to have to get that wheelchair straightened up and get in that wheelchair by themselves.”

Passage accompanied by a photo of a community wheelchair basketball game with four people in regular clothes using wheelchairs. One person in the middle of the shot has just fallen backwards out of his chair. One person is helping him catch his balance. The other two are continuing to play.


UTA was becoming accessible to students with disabilities, but what about life after college?

With the help of fellow UTA alums John Dycus and Jim Hayes, as well as other allies, Sam Provence began to tackle questions like this by founding the Arlington Handicapped Association in 1976. The Association advocated for accessible sidewalks, public transit, government buildings, and housing codes, among other disability rights initiatives.

Text paired with the image of a proclamation by the Mayor of the City of Arlington, S. J. Stovall, naming May 15 to 21 as “1977 National Handicapped Awareness Week” and calling on all citizens to join in creating a barrier-free environment.” The proclamation has an elaborate border around the edges. In addition, there are several pages from an orange-colored brochure for the Arlington Handicapped Association. The cover has “Arlington Handicapped Association” and “Divine Originals” on it, along with a drawing of a sun with AHA inside. The drawing was designed by Sam’s brother Joe. The other pages show parts of the organization’s goals, such as “define the needs of the handicapped” and the monthly meeting schedule.

With the 1981 opening of the accessible Peach Street Apartments, the association achieved one of its main goals. Residents shared 24-hour attendants, allowing many to live on their own for the first time. Joe Provence, Sam’s brother, recalled that “Sam felt free as a bird let loose from a cage when he moved out of our parents’ house and into those apartments.”

Passage accompanied by photo of Sam Provence driving his wheelchair into his accessible apartment. You can see his ventilator in the back of his chair and a ramp going up the step from the parking lot and then again into his apartment. The building is brick.

Thanks to pressure from Provence, Hayes, Dycus, and others, Arlington created wheelchair-accessible public transit in 1979: Handitran. This paratransit service proved so helpful and essential to Arlington residents with disabilities that, by 1984, passengers had taken over 100,000 rides—a benchmark celebrated here by Mayor Harold Patterson and rider E. J. Wells.

Text paired with photo of Mayor Harold Patterson handing a bouquet of flowers to rider E. J. Wells as she steps off a Handitran bus. He is wearing a suit and she is older and wearing a skirt, polka dot shirt, and light-colored jacket. The female bus driver is standing behind her.


“An open sore running through campus,” said by former UTA president Wendell Nedderman.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, pedestrian safety on Cooper Street was an ever-present concern. Despite a rising toll of injuries, the Arlington City Council, Texas Department of Transportation, UT System Regents, and UTA administrators could not agree on a solution.

Text paired with photo of two students crossing a busy Cooper Street. They are standing directly in the middle of the road and cars and trucks are passing by them. They are not using the crosswalk.

UTA faculty and students made their voices heard through Student Congress resolutions, letters to the Shorthorn, and public protests such as those led by physics professor Dr. Ulrich Herrmann in 1985.

Passage accompanied by an image of the top half of the front page of the UTA Shorthorn newspaper featuring an article entitled “Cars blocked by protestors: Professor leads march on Cooper, will repeat until problem ‘solved.’” The article is accompanied by a photo of Professor Ulrich Herrmann holding a placard reading “Do NOT kill or MAIM more students than ABSOLUTELY necessary” and a student holding a sign saying “Prof. Herrmann Astronomy X-ing.”

In spring 1989, just before construction began on lowering Cooper Street and providing wheelchair-accessible pedestrian overpasses, graduate student and Freewheelers athlete Andy Beck was killed while crossing the street.

Text paired with montage starting with a profile of Andy Beck in a tank top, baseball cap, and pants and a colorful black, white, and white wheelchair in front of a classroom building. Next, a two-page Texas House of Representatives resolution in honor of Andy Beck after his death on Cooper Street. Finally, a color photo of Cooper Street today that shows the central pedestrian bridge, wheelchair ramp, and the sunken road with cars on it.


“If I hadn’t been able to get a scholarship here at UTA, the best I would have done was maybe go to community college,” commented former Movin’ Mav Aaron Gouge.

From the 1970s on, Jim Hayes and UTA administrators worked to raise awareness both within Texas and in the Southwest about how to serve disabled college students. Along with Sam Provence, Hayes pushed the UT System regents to comply with new state and federal laws that required state-funded institutions to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Text paired with image of letter from Wayne Duke to Acting President Nedderman dated June 13, 1973 supporting the UTA Handicapped Students Association’s request to appear before the UT System Board of Regents on July 27, 1973. Their goal was to convince the Board of Regents to develop UTA into a model institution for handicapped students.

“UTA has been renowned for years for being one of the most physically accessible campuses in the country.”—Donna Mack (formerly Anderson), UTA alumna and current chairperson of the Arlington Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Quote accompanied by photo of Donna Mack holding an open binder and singing to a classroom. She has long brown hair and is wearing a white shirt. The classroom wall shows a calendar for April and has a bulletin board with “Singing Telegrams” on it.

In 1989, UTA’s Handicapped Student Services initiated the first full-ride scholarship for adapted sports in the country: the Andrew David Beck Memorial Wheelchair Athletic Scholarship. Because UTA could now recruit the best players in the country, such as Jesus Alamillo and Willie Hernandez, other schools had to follow suit and offer full scholarships.

Text paired with photo of Movin’ Mavs Jesus Alamillo and Willie Hernandez receiving awards from an official in a suit with championship trophies on a table behind them.


“UTA’s Winningest Team”: Since 1989, the Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team has won seven national championships. The Lady Movin’ Mavs won their first national title in 2015-2016 during just their third season.

UTA’s new full-ride scholarships for adapted sports enabled the Movin’ Mavs to dominate the collegiate wheelchair basketball scene. They won national championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2002, and 2006. UTA added the Lady Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team in 2013.

Passage accompanied by a Fort-Worth Star Telegram article entitled “Mavs grab 4th national title in a row” accompanied by a picture of a Movin’ Mav player being held up in his wheelchair so that his body goes through the basketball hoop. He is beaming and holding his arm up with one finger raised. The other photo shows the Lady Movin’ Mavs team on a basketball court with their championship trophy and plaques. Coach Jason Nelms is in the background along with other support staff.

As a result of their dominance, in 1993 President Clinton invited the Movin’ Mavs and coach Jim Hayes to visit the White House.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 season, the NCAA will be incorporating adapted sports. Despite the historical dominance of the Movin’ Mavs and growing success of the Lady Movin’ Mavs, UTA does not classify either as official sports teams.

Text paired with image of a letter from President Bill Clinton to Jim Hayes thanking him for the gifts brought during the Movin’ Mavs visit to the White House, along with a black and white photo of coach Jim Hayes shaking hands with President Clinton, surrounded by Movin’ Mavs and White House officials.


Since the 1970s, people with disabilities, including UTA alums, have transformed wheelchair design and, consequently, adapted sports.

Paralympic medalist and UTA faculty member Dr. Abu Yilla recalls, “When I started playing wheelchair basketball in the early 1970s, you would have to cut up a hospital chair.” Today, wheelchair track athletes complete marathons far faster than their able-bodied counterparts. Yilla explains, “With T-frame design, three wheels, no gearing, just arm power, disabled racers can do sub-4 minute miles for 26 miles.”

Quotations paired with a collage entitled “Evolution of wheelchairs”: a very early wooden and wicker “hospital chair” that has no rims that the user could use to propel themselves, Everest and Jennings-style metal wheelchairs with push handles, followed by four photos of specialized adapted sports wheelchairs: a basketball chair with highly cambered wheels, armored quad rugby chair with metal rims, three-wheeled tennis chair with highly cambered wheels, and a track chair that is very elongated and which has a small third wheel in front.

UTA alumni such as Willie Hernandez, founder and owner of Per4Max, have taken a leading role in building customized wheelchairs, taking into account individuals’ centers of gravity, types of disability, and styles of play, among other factors. “I think it’s very important that disabled people create their own wheelchairs or at least have a part in the process. As an able-bodied person it’s easy to look at something and be like, ‘Oh they need this, or they need that,” commented Movin’ Mav alum and Lady Movin’ Mavs coach Jason Nelms.

Text accompanied by a color photo of Willie Hernandez posing in the Per4Max workshop. He is sitting proudly in a chair and is wearing a polo shirt and jeans.


UTA continues to have a national impact on the growth of adapted sports today.

Since the 1970s, dozens of UTA alumni have gone on to play for the Dallas Mavericks wheelchair basketball team—one of the most dominant teams in the country—as well as professional teams in Europe.

Text paired with a color photo of Dallas Mavericks player Aaron Gouge about to pass the basketball. Another Mavericks player and an opponent are in the foreground.

Under the direction of Movin’ Mavs Head Coach Douglas Garner (near right in center), UTA Adapted Sports and Campus Recreation offers training camps for hundreds of disabled veterans and young athletes with disabilities. In 2015, the White House recognized Garner as a Champion of Change: Disability Advocate.

Passage accompanied by two images. The first image is of Movin’ Mavs head coach Douglas Garner in the center of a circle of Movin’ Mavs players. He is talking intently with them before a game. The second image is of two young teenage girls in basketball wheelchairs at a junior camp. The front one is dribbling a ball.

1986 graduate Randy Snow was just one of nearly 30 Paralympians to train at UTA. He won a silver medal in wheelchair track in 1984, gold medals in wheelchair tennis in 1992, and bronze in wheelchair basketball in 1996. “At the 2000 Paralympics, I believe there were nine of us there from five different countries. That tells you the reach UTA had,” commented Movin’ Mav alum and Mexican Paralympic team member Cezar Olivas.

Text paired with a black and white photo of Randy Snow playing wheelchair tennis. He is leaning over to hit the ball with his racquet. He is using a modern day chair without handles and with a low back but not a modern specialized tennis chair with three wheels.


When Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, UTA already met many of the act’s accessibility requirements.

In the years since the ADA’s passage, UTA has continued to improve accessibility across campus, whether it be changing every single door handle from a knob to a lever or developing a dedicated Adaptive Resource Center that provides voice recognition, screen magnification, and other kinds of software, which allows students to take tests in a reduced distraction environment.

Image paired with a collage of an early “Students with disABILITIES: A Guide for Faculty and Staff” from UTA and the new Accessible Icon symbol, which is blue and white but shows a person actively wheeling their chair.

Today, over 1,000 students are registered with UTA’s Office for Students with Disabilities. UTA is so accessible that many students, especially those with mobility impairments, simply don’t register.
“Truth of the matter is, it’s a constant process. Do you ever finish accomplishing all the accessibility? No, and accessibility changes throughout the life of programs. But I think, by having such an accessible campus, it opened up the possibilities and gave people the feeling that they’re welcome on the campus,” explained Assistant Dean of Students Casey Gonzales.

This text is accompanied by a colorful UTA Office for Students with Disabilities poster that uses a variety of font size and colors to list all sorts of types of disabilities, mostly invisible ones, including dyslexia, physical, epilepsy, mental health, speech, learning, vision, OCD, hearing, PTSD, depression, ADHD, chronic health, anxiety, and ending with "Tools for your Toolbox!" and contact information for the office: 817-272-3364. The panel concludes with an exploded pie showing the types of disabilities registered with the UTA Office for Students with Disabilities. The categories and numbers registered are as follows: Learning disability (297), Physical dexterity (23), Psychological disability (597), Cognitive disorder/Traumatic brain injury (40), ADD/ADHD (291), Hearing impairment (64), Health impairment (281), Visual impairment (52), Physical mobility (165), Communication/speech/ language (17).


Services like Handitran and Helping Restore Ability have made it far easier for disabled people to live in the community, but these programs constantly struggle for funding.

When Arlington was first contemplating creating Handitran in 1978, Donna Mack spoke to the city council, arguing, “This will give people like me some independence where we don’t have to ask our family, where we can actually go and be employed without inconveniencing other people.” Despite providing hundreds of thousands of rides each year, Handitran has faced repeated funding crises and efforts to defund the program. In 1999, Mack’s eight-year-old daughter Lindsey Anderson also testified on its behalf, explaining, “I ride the Handitran because my mom has a disability. She takes me to school and goes to work.”

Quotations accompanied by a color photo of Donna Mack, her black lab guide dog Wella, and daughter Lindsey Anderson in front of the sign for the national headquarters of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Donna is wearing a pink shirt and black pants and has her hair back. Lindsey is wearing a black sweater, gray shirt, black leggings, and has dark long hair. Both women are smiling and have an arm around each other.

In 1986, the Arlington Handicapped Association almost lost funding for its 24-hour attendant program, which helped forty-plus disabled people live independently and attend college. To help raise funds to continue the program, Jim Hayes pushed his track chair 205 miles from Austin to Arlington in two days for the opening of the Sixth National Veterans’ Wheelchair Games.

Text paired with a black and white image of Jim Hayes worked hard to push a track chair into a stadium. He is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, pants, and worn gloves.

Today, Helping Restore Ability (originally the Arlington Handicapped Association) is the largest non-profit independent living attendant provider in Texas, serving nearly 1,000 clients.

Text accompanied by the logo of Helping Restore Ability in gray, magenta, and white. The logo reads “independence through opportunity.”


Home to the South’s only disability studies minor and a thriving adapted sports scene.

Since 2010, UTA has hosted a chapter of the national Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society for students with disabilities. DAPi seeks to challenge the negative stereotyping associated with disability by recognizing students with disabilities for their academic accomplishments, facilitating the growth of leadership skills, and encouraging disability advocacy. By bringing speakers to campus and leading discussions of films such as Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back, DAPi members work to raise awareness about disability issues on campus.

The text is paired with images showing two students with microphones leading a discussion. The woman is tall and has wavy red-brown hair, a flowery top, and jeans and is seated in a power chair, and the man is slender and is wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt and jeans. In addition, this grouping includes the blue and yellow circular logo of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society.

Established in 2013 and hosted by the Department of History, UTA's interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies explores the experiences of people with disabilities—one of the largest minorities in the United States and worldwide. Students in the Minor also investigate the ways in which conceptions and representations of disability and "the normal" have shaped human experiences more generally.

This text is accompanied by shows colorful event and class posters from the Disability Studies Minor: Endless Abilities film screening and discussion, FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement film screening and discussion, the Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures on “Beyond Attics and Activists: Rethinking Family in Disability History,” “Moving Beyond ‘the Spectrum’: A Conversation with NeuroQueer Activist Lindsey Anderson,” “Enabling Disability” conference on disability studies at UTA, “Gender and Disability” class, and Michael Wynne’s “Braille Urinal” piece from the Subject: Disability art exhibit.

The presence of dozens of Movin’ Mavs alums has made DFW a center for adapted sports. Today, as Freewheelers and Dallas Mavericks alum Ron LaBar explains, “DFW is the best place for wheelchair basketball in the country. There are pickup games at every level every night of the week.”

Commentary paired with a color photo of a female Dallas Junior Mavericks player in a basketball jersey, holding a basketball over her head, about to throw it.



Top: NeuroQueer poster courtesy of the Disability Studies Minor, Lindsey Anderson photo and NeuroQueer logo courtesy of Lindsey Anderson; Sam Provence photo, Sammie L. Provence Papers, UTA Libraries Special Collections (hereafter SPCO); brochure, UTA Office for Students with Disabilities. Bottom: John Dycus photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO; Abby Dunkin photo courtesy of Jeremy Schack; Jim Hayes photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO.

Top: Sam Provence photo, Sammie L. Provence Papers, SPCO. Middle: Joseph Rowe photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, “Paint Him Courage,” 5/3/1970. Bottom: John Dycus photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO; Science Hall photo, Reveille 1961.

Top: The Shorthorn, “UTA News in Brief,” 10/4/1968; Handicapped Students Association photo, Reveille 1977. Middle: The Shorthorn, “Mini-Driveways Help Out,” 9/4/1970. Bottom: President Wendell Nedderman photo, Reveille 1974.

Top: Sam Provence photo, Sammie L. Provence Papers, SPCO. Bottom: Jim Hayes photo, UT-Arlington News Service Photograph Collection, SPCO. Quotations: “Every curb cut in Arlington should have Sam’s name on it” from John Dycus; “A juggernaut on wheels” from Wendell Nedderman.

Top: Jim Hayes photo, Jim Hayes Papers; proposal from Student Congress Records, Arlington, Texas. Bottom: Sam Provence with MA diploma, Sammie L. Provence Papers; Model campus excerpt, Jim Hayes proposal, Student Congress Records, Arlington, Texas. All SPCO. Quotation: “model campus” from Jim Hayes.

Top: Wayne Duke photo, UT-Arlington News Service Photograph Collection, SPCO. Middle: Resolution, Student Congress Records, Arlington, Texas, SPCO. Bottom: Kent Gardner photo courtesy of himself; Brazos dorm council photo, Reveille 1975.

Top: (Left) Glen Williamson and Brian Welnack photo, UT-Arlington News Service Photograph Collection, SPCO; (middle, left to right) photo of Danny Williams, Jim Hayes, Chris Cooper, Jimmie Strader, Eddie Bland, UTA Movin’ Mavs Collection, SPCO; (right) Ron LaBar photo, UT-Arlington News Service Photograph Collection, SPCO. Bottom: Reveille 1977.

Top: Mayoral proclamation, UTA Movin’ Mavs Collection, SPCO; Arlington Handicapped Association pamphlet, Sammie L. Provence Papers, SPCO. Middle: Arlington Citizen-Journal, “Renovated apartments make independent lives possible,” 4/3/1981. Bottom: Arlington Citizen-Journal, “Handitran marks 100,000th passenger,” 11/4/1984.

Top: Cooper Street photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO. Middle: The Shorthorn, “Cars blocked by protesters,” 1/13/1985. Bottom: Andy Beck photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO; Texas House Resolution, UTA Movin’ Mavs Collection, SPCO; Cooper Street depression and bridge photo courtesy of Les Ridingin.

Top: Wayne Duke letter to President Nedderman, UTA, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (W.A. Baker), SPCO. Middle: Donna Mack photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO. Bottom: Willie Hernandez and Jesus Alamillo photo, UTA Movin’ Mavs “Jesus Alamillo” #14 scrapbook.

Top: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Mavs grab 4th national title in a row,” 3/10/1994; Lady Movin’ Mavs photo courtesy of Jeffrey J. Parkin. Bottom: President Clinton letter to Jim Hayes and White House photo from UTA Movin' Mavs Collection, SPCO. Quotation: “UTA’s Winningest Team” from Wendell Nedderman.

Top: (clockwise from left); Reveille 1976; Elizabeth Becker in wheelchair basketball chair courtesy of Jeremy Schack; William Taylor & Amy Simmons in quad rugby chairs by Jeremy Schack; Kenny van Weeghel in track chair at the 2006 World Championships,; wheelchair tennis player David Hall at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics Bottom: Willie Hernandez photo, UT Arlington Magazine, spring/summer 2007.

Top: Aaron Gouge photo courtesy of Jeremy Schack. Middle: (Left) photo of Movin’ Mavs and Head Coach Douglas Garner courtesy of The Shorthorn; (right) Christie Levine photo courtesy of Jeremy Schack. Bottom: Randy Snow photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO.

Top: “Students with disAbilities” handbook, UTA Publications Collection-Miscellaneous, SPCO; The Accessible Icon, Bottom: Brochure, UTA Office for Students with Disabilities; chart courtesy of Sarah Rose.

Top: Lindsey Anderson and Donna Mack photo, courtesy of Lindsey Anderson. Middle: Jim Hayes photo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, SPCO. Bottom: Logo courtesy of Helping Restore Ability.

Top: Logo courtesy of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society; Trevor Engel and Nichole Sheridan photos courtesy of Sarah Rose. Middle: Posters courtesy of the UTA Disability Studies Minor; (far right) "Braille Urinal" by Michael Wynne from Subject: Disability exhibit, courtesy of The Gallery at UTA. Bottom: Sarah Maynard photo courtesy of Jeremy Schack.

This exhibit was made possible by financial support from the UTA Libraries, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts’ Festival of Global Ideas Fellowship program, University Communications, and Office for Students with Disabilities.

We are especially grateful to Candy McCormic for designing the exhibit, Gerald Saxon for conceptual and editorial assistance, Cathy Spitzenberger and Jeremy Schack for locating and digitizing photos, Brenda McClurkin for coordinating production, Douglas Garner and Mark Knoblock for assistance with adapted sports research, Marvin Dulaney for strategic advice, Betty Shankle for research assistance, Jeff Downing for providing digital images, Dave Aftandilian for editorial advice and practical support, as well as Ramona Holmes and other Special Collections and Digital Creation staff. Special thanks to Andrew Leverenz, Derek Reece, and Candy McCormic for the website. Evelyn Barker and Penny Acrey proposed this exhibit, and Michael Basha, Jeremy Schack, and Ali Nanbakhsh researched aspects of this history in HIST 3300, DS 3331, and HIST 6365 classes. We deeply appreciate the historical perspectives offered by Wendell Nedderman and Donna Mack.

We also wish to thank the dozens of people who have participated in the Texas Disability History Collection’s oral history project, as well as the students who conducted and transcribed the interviews.