The Suterko-Cory Award

Steve La Grow

Emeritus Professor, Massey University

Professor La Grow taught orientation and mobility (O&M) in the USA from 1976 to 1987 before moving to New Zealand in 1988 to set up that countries first University based personnel preparation program for O&M instructors for blind and visually impaired people. While originally intending to be there for just three years, he stayed for 28 retiring in May of 2015.

Since moving to New Zealand Steve has been actively involved in the development and dissemination of O&M knowledge internationally. In addition to setting up and teaching in Massey’s O&M program, he has also run short courses for the preparation of O&M instructors in Sumatra Indonesia, Mongolia and Myanmar.  Steve has served on the International Mobility Conference Executive committee continuously since 1990. He has also served on numerous regulatory committees including the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) University Standards Revision Committee for O&M and the Orientation and Mobility Association of Australasia (OMAA) Standards Committee. Professor La Grow has also served on the Editorial Board of 9 international journals including the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness (JVIB) and the International Journal of Orientation and Mobility (IJOM) and as a reviewer for national research funding groups in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Over the years Steve has made over 60 presentations at international conferences and has published more than 150 papers, most of which have appeared in international Journals.  Professor La Grow is probably best known for his book Orientation and Mobility: Techniques for Independence (co-authored with Marvin Weessies and Richard Long) which is used in personal preparation programs around the world.

Steve is now retired and lives with his wife Susan at Lake Taupo where he spends much of his time fly fishing or talking about fly fishing.

The Suterko-Cory Award

The intent of this special award is for individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of orientation and mobility (O&M) on an international basis.  There have been many individuals who have served as ambassadors, teachers, mentors, innovators, and researches in the area of O&M.  They have not been content with the security of working in their own geographical area, but have had the courage to extend themselves beyond their own country.  Their pride in their work, their commitment to improve the lives of individuals with a visual impairment, and their professionalism goes beyond political boundaries.  Often these individuals have gone above and beyond the call of duty and sacrificed much of their personal time to work many uncompensated hours that were only rewarded by personal satisfaction.  The award is named after two such individuals who exemplify the intent of this award.

Mr. Suterko is one of the original pioneers who refined the “Hoover Techniques” and played a major role in the development of the teaching strategies.  Suterko went on to be one of the first professors in the orientation and mobility programs at Western Michigan University.  He was one of the first O&M instructors to demonstrate and teach these techniques to professionals in other countries, going to England, Australia, Poland, and France to name a few.  Many individuals from other countries also came to the US to learn from Mr. Suterko.  Mr. Stanley Suterko was one of the first and most prominent to carry the O&M Torch from the US to professionals in other countries. 

This same O&M Torch was carried by Dennis Cory to light the way of independent travel for many European Countries.  Mr. Cory made a significant contribution and commitment when he started and nurtured the IMC.  This IMC seed that Cory planted in 1979 continues to grow and produce many fruits.  It is because of the IMC, that there is such international sharing, communication, friendships, and cohesiveness between orientation and mobility specialists all over the world I believe this to be the fruits of the labour of Dennis Cory.

IMC 8  The award was announced and a plaque was Presented in Trondheim, Norway in 1996 to its namesake Dennis Cory and later to Stanley Suterko in the US at the AER convention.

IMC 9 The first award recipient was Theodor Reusch presented at the1998 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

IMC 10 Tom Blair in Warwick, United Kingdom  2000

IMC 11 Robert Jaekle in Stellenbosch, South Africa 2003

IMC 12 Eric Ostergaard, in Hong Kong, China 2006

IMC 13 Bruce B. Blasch, in Marburg, Germany 2009

IMC 14 Nurit Neustadt-Noy, in Palmerston North, NZ  2012

IMC 15 Alan Brooks in Montreal, Canada, 2015

IMC 16 – Steven LaGrow in Dublin Ireland, 2017

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