Ed Skarnulis Interviews Rosemary and Gunnar Dybwad


Produced in 1987 (Run time 4:19)

Ed Skarnulis: Good morning. My name is Ed Skarnulis, I'm with the Department of Human Services. This morning we're meeting with Doctors Gunnar and Rosemary Dybwad, interviewing them on some of their experiences in the field of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. This program is being sponsored in part by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Developmental Disabilities Council.

We're fortunate to have Gunnar and Rosemary with us today. They are truly citizens of the world. Dr. Gunnar Dybwad has been past Executive Director of the Association for Retarded Citizens for the United States, he has traveled extensively and was professor emeritus at Brandeis University.

His wife, Rosemary, is probably as well known if not better known than Gunnar, and, in fact, Gunnar tells me that people refer to him as Rosemary's husband when he travels around to other countries. She is also a citizen of the world. She was raised in the Philippines, her mother lived in China. Her great-grandfather was a missionary who worked with the Dakota Indians here in Minnesota, and, in fact, there is picture of him in the state capitol in Minnesota.

Both Gunnar and Rosemary have been able to retain their humility and although they've received a great number of awards, they take it with aplomb, with grace. And so at the risk of embarrassing them, I'd like to read just a part of the introduction a newsletter, a year-end newsletter that they send out that I think illustrates the kind of prestige and reputation that they have internationally and here in the United States. 1986 will also be remembered by us as the year of awards.

In March we both received from the Boston University School of Law the Neil Pike Prize for Service to the Handicapped. In May, Gunnar received a presidential citation from the American Association on Mental Deficiency, and in awarding it, our dear friend Rud Turnbull made particular mention of Rosemary's part in our work.

In June we were given awards by the Foundation for Dignity in Philadelphia and by the Massachusetts Coalition for Community Living. And in Toronto with the renaming ceremony, we became fellows of the G. Allen Rore Institute formerly the National Institute on Mental Retardation of the Canadian Association on Community Living.

In November we were both honored by the American Association of University Affiliated Programs for our accomplishments in the field. And later that month as a climax to this eventful year, we received a Kennedy Foundation International Award at an impressive ceremony in Washington's Academy of Science.

There was a very lovely citation written for the foundation by Dotson Rader, an exquisite Baccarat crystal with the seraph Raphael engraving and a check for $5000, which we were pleased to pass on to the International League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicap, since it has been the league which has enabled us to do much of the work for which the Kennedy Foundation has honored us.

We hope this enumeration does not sound too immodest. Looking back, we are quite overwhelmed, particularly as in so many ways we feel we have merely been the spokespersons for the persons who really do the work.

I think that that's typical of Gunnar and Rosemary. They're people who have dedicated their lives to serving people with developmental disabilities and their families. Rosemary, in particular, has been a full-time volunteer for virtually all of her professional life and has dedicated herself to supporting the work of not only Gunnar but all of the advocacy organizations here in the United States and abroad.

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