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White House honors UT Arlington Movin’ Mavs coach as "Champion of Change: Disability Advocate"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: alumni, awards, faculty, recreation, sports, staff, student life

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White House officials will gather in Washington, D.C. Monday, July 27 to honor a University of Texas at Arlington coach for his efforts to help students and injured service veterans and others who face varying physical challenges.

Doug Garner and his wife, Becky, visited the White House for ceremonies honoring Garner as a Champion of Change: Disability Advocate.

Doug Garner, head coach of the Movin’ Mavs men’s wheelchair basketball team, is one of nine people named as a Champion of Change: Disability Advocate by the White House Office of Public Engagement. The award goes to “long-time disability advocates and young Americans with disabilities who are working to uphold and expand the spirit” of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a White House statement.

The event will be held in conjunction with celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, a landmark civil rights law that promises equal access and equal opportunity – regardless of ability. It will be live-streamed on the White House website, www.whitehouse.gov/live at 9 a.m. CST.

Garner, who also serves as assistant director of Campus Recreation for Adapted Sports and Recreation in the Division of Student Affairs, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for students with disabilities, injured service veterans and members of the community who face disability.

The White House noted that over the past seven years, Garner has worked to increase the numbers of students with disabilities attending UT Arlington and has increased programs for and participation of students with physical disabilities from a wheelchair tennis team, to an adapted track and field team and has introduced a women’s wheelchair basketball team, the Lady Movin’ Mavs, to the campus in 2013.

“I am so honored that the White House would recognize the work that we have put in at UT Arlington in growing our sports programs for students with disabilities and with our efforts to create a fully inclusive environment,” Garner said. “All students deserve an opportunity to use sports as a vehicle to earning a college degree and achieving their fullest human potential.”

UT Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari said Garner’s commitment to serving students and others with disabilities serves as a model of excellence for the University and community at large.

“This recognition from the White House is well-deserved, and we are pleased to support Coach Garner as he continues the work of educating people about intercollegiate adaptive sports programs that offer student-athletes exposure and give hope to those seeking personal independence,” Karbhari said.

Timothy Quinnan, UT Arlington vice president for the Division of Student Affairs, called the Movin’ Mavs “a sparkling point of pride” for the University community.

“Through this program and related activities, Coach Garner has made a major contribution to the vitality of adapted sports throughout our nation. It is wonderfully fitting that his tireless efforts in the field are being recognized, quite literally, at the very highest level,” Quinnan said.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. Visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions to learn more about the program.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.