First blind person to graduate from U.S. medical school

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Gettysburg College graduate David Hartman, the first blind person to complete medical school in the United States, will speak at Gettysburg College's 169th commencement exercises. The May 23 event will begin at 11 a.m. on the north side of Pennsylvania Hall. Hartman will receive an honorary degree from Gettysburg College, as will philanthropist and educator Julie Johnson Kidd, president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.

Hartman is a psychiatrist and author who lives in Roanoke, Va. Diagnosed with glaucoma at an early age, he lost his sight at age 8 and attended a school for the blind. He later transferred to a public high school in his hometown of Havertown, Pa. He graduated summa cum laude from Gettysburg College in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in biology and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

After rejection by nine medical schools, Hartman received a doctorate in medicine from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1976. He is the author of the autobiography, "White Coat, White Cane: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Blind Physician," and the subject of a television movie, "Journey from Darkness." Hartman has been recognized for his contributions to the field of mental health and for his service to people with handicaps.

Julie Johnson Kidd is president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, an organization named in honor of her father that supports projects and research designed to develop new perspectives and analyze issues within the education field. Through the foundation's generosity, Gettysburg College was able to establish the Christian A. Johnson Center for Creative Teaching in 2001. The center helps faculty members explore collaborative and experiential learning techniques and incorporate new technology.

Kidd earned a bachelor's degree in art history at Middlebury College, Vt. She has been honored for her work by Hamilton College, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation and the Little Orchestra Society.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. With approximately 2,500 students, it is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park. The college was founded in 1832.

Issued 4/23/04

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Fri, 23 Apr 2004

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