Tim Nugent, 'father of accessibility,' dies at 92

By Abigale Svoboda

Tim Nugent, the ‘father of accessibility,’ passed away at 92 Wednesday morning. Nugent is well-known for founding Disability Resources and Education Services, DRES, at the University in 1944.

Nugent originally founded DRES to give wounded World War II veterans the opportunity to attend college.

Rep. Rodney Davis released a statement on Nugent’s death Wednesday evening.

“Today, we lost a pioneer in architectural accessibility and a relentless advocate for people with disabilities,” Davis said. “He challenged the way many regarded disabled individuals and opened the doors of higher education to millions of Americans.

During a September visit to the University, Nugent and Rep. Rodney Davis discussed DRES and Nugent’s work in improving accessibility.

“I was going to quit my sophomore year,” Nugent said in a previous interview with The Daily Illini. “But then my first veteran, Harold Sharper, died in my arms. He said, ‘Tim, don’t quit. These sons of bitches don’t know what they’re doing.’ So, I stayed.”

During the visit, Davis announced he was nominating Nugent for a Congressional Gold Medal. According to the Office of the Historian, Congress has awarded gold medals for national appreciation of various achievements since the American Revolution.

“We take how far we’ve come on campus in not too many years,” Davis said in a previous interview with The Daily Illini. “A lot of that is due to Tim Nugent.”

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