National legal leaders gather to dedicate Stetson Law’s elder-friendly courtroom

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Communications Specialist

Gulfport, Fla. – Dick Thornburgh, two-time former U.S. attorney general and governor of Pennsylvania, Bill Novelli, CEO of the AARP, Lawrence Davidow, president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and other prominent leaders will gather to dedicate the nation’s first elder-friendly high-tech courtroom on Stetson University College of Law’s Gulfport campus Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the courtroom will immediately follow the dedication.

The barrier-free courtroom, dedicated in honor of Stetson Distinguished Professor Emeritus William R. Eleazer, is a joint effort of Stetson’s Centers for Excellence in Advocacy and Elder Law. The courtroom is designed as a national model to increase courtroom access to the elderly and disabled. It uses cutting-edge technology including flat-panel monitors, hearing amplification devices, and a multi-lingual software speech synthesizer that will read aloud words displayed on a computer screen, translate them into multiple languages, and even output words to refreshable Braille displays.

As U.S. attorney general, Thornburgh played a leading role in the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2002, he was recognized for his “commitment to the civil rights of people with disabilities” with the Wiley E. Branton Award of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Prior to joining the AARP in January 2000, Novelli was president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and executive vice president of CARE, a private relief organization that helps impoverished people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Davidow is vice president of the New York State Bar Elder Law Section, a member of the board of directors of the National Elder Law Foundation and belongs to many elder law organizations.

For more information,  visit the courtroom online.

Editor’s Note: Interviews with Mr. Thornburgh, Mr. Novelli, and Mr. Davidow will be available prior to the dedication between 3:40 p.m. and 3:55 p.m. Please contact Brandi Palmer to schedule an interview time at (727) 562-7381 or (727) 430-1580.