Ruth S. Sullivan, who was a long-time member of The Washington Post’s editorial board, has died

Ruth S. Sullivan, a renowned advocate for people with autism and a longtime member of The Washington Post’s editorial board, died Tuesday in Havelock, North Carolina. She was 97. Sullivan graduated from New York…

Ruth S. Sullivan, who was a long-time member of The Washington Post’s editorial board, has died

Ruth S. Sullivan, a renowned advocate for people with autism and a longtime member of The Washington Post’s editorial board, died Tuesday in Havelock, North Carolina. She was 97.

Sullivan graduated from New York University School of Law and taught law in Prince William County, Virginia, for more than 25 years.

She was an active member of the National Federation of the Blind and founded a school for the blind in Prince William County, “to give blind children the academic opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to achieve.”

Sullivan played an active role in the founding of the National School for the Blind in 1993 in Havelock, the North Carolina town known for its rich history of civil rights battles, including those of Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks.

In 1996, the National School for the Blind Board of Trustees and Administrators met in Havelock and Sullivan’s eldest daughter, Carrie Anne Sullivan, the Education Department Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, was sworn in as president of the organization.

Before joining the editorial board, Sullivan held the titles of president and a board member of People With Disability United, the nation’s largest disability rights organization.

After leaving the editorial board in 2003, Sullivan served on various boards and committees of the Regional Association of People With Disabilities. She served on the National Conference of State Legislatures staff for 16 years.

She also taught legal writing and public advocacy to college professors throughout the country. She was a weekly columnist for Inside Counsel, a New York Times specialty publication, and wrote several books and two historical guides on disability issues.

She was an advocate for disability rights in higher education and published The #EduTalk Index, an assessment and survey tool for colleges and universities. Her many awards include the Rebecca C. Wilson Award from The Landmark Foundation and the New York State Bar Association Legal Journalism Award.

Sullivan is survived by her daughter Carrie Anne Sullivan, a current board member of People With Disability United; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

(S pecial to The Washington Post)

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