Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
John G. Paré Jr.
Executive Director for Strategic Initiative
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2218
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

Governor O’Malley to Speak at the National Federation of the Blind

Event will Honor the Work and Memory of Dr. Betsy Zaborowski

Baltimore, Maryland (January 15, 2008): Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will speak at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on Sunday, January 27, at an event to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Betsy Zaborowski.  Dr. Zaborowski, the first executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, died on November 29, 2007, after a nine-month battle with a rare form of cancer.  The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. at the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.  Over 550 friends, colleagues, and blind Americans are expected to attend.

 “Dr. Zaborowski was a visionary pioneer in research and education for the blind of Maryland and our nation,” said Governor O’Malley.  “The National Federation of the Blind and its Jernigan Institute have had a positive impact on countless blind people in Maryland and throughout the nation, and their work would not have been possible without the innovative and imaginative leadership of Dr. Zaborowski.”

“We are pleased that the governor will be joining us to celebrate the life of our beloved Dr. Zaborowski and appreciate his long-standing support of the National Federation of the Blind both as mayor of Baltimore and as governor,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.  “The technologies and youth programs spearheaded under Dr. Zaborowski’s leadership of the Jernigan Institute will shape and substantially improve the lives of blind Americans for generations to come.”

From December of 2003 until the spring of 2007, Dr. Zaborowski served as the first executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the Federation’s research and training facility.  During her tenure as Jernigan Institute director, Dr. Zaborowski established and oversaw innovative programs designed to provide opportunity for blind Americans of all ages.  Her initiatives included the National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS), a program encouraging blind youth to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)—fields falsely believed to be closed to the blind.  Dr. Zaborowski also oversaw the Jernigan Institute’s International Braille and Technology Center, the largest center for the evaluation of technology for the blind anywhere in the world, and the Accessible Home Initiative, which helps blind people to identify appliances and consumer electronics that they can use independently. 

In 1998 and 2000, the Daily Record selected Dr. Zaborowski as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.  In 2004, Smart Woman magazine featured her on its cover, and the next year, Smart CEO featured her as one of 25 admired Maryland leaders.  She served on the Maryland Information Technology Board and as the first chairwoman of the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities. She also served two terms on the Baltimore City Women's Commission.