Disability History Factoid: Professor Lex Frieden

    Office of the Governor Rick Perry
    Committee on People with Disabilities

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – Lex Frieden

Professor Lex Frieden is one of America's preeminent disability rights activists. Frieden became a quadriplegic after experiencing a spinal cord injury as a young man. Many universities were not open-minded about admitting students with disabilities at that time and Frieden faced architectural and attitudinal barriers. Still, he applied his natural aptitude for learning and excelled. He is now a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Tulsa and holds a master's degree from the University of Houston. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in law (LL.D.) by the National University of Ireland.

After graduation, Professor Frieden became a leader of the independent living movement. He held many distinguished positions, including serving as the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability. In this position, Professor Frieden was instrumental in conceiving and drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. Professor Frieden has received two Presidential Citations, commending his work in the field of disability rights, and has provided advice on the international stage, serving on a panel of experts for the United Nations.

Today, Professor Frieden is Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and he is Adjunct Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Frieden also directs the ILRU - Independent Living Research Utilization Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. ILRU is a research, training and technical assistance program on independent living for people with disabilities and seniors. TIRR is a comprehensive medical rehabilitation center which provides clinical, educational, and research programs pertaining to spinal cord and brain injuries and other disabling conditions. Professor Frieden continues to write, research, and teach.

In April of 2011, the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities named its annual Employment Awards after Professor Frieden for his advocacy work regarding the employment of people with disabilities around the world.

Professor Frieden has called Texas home for most of his adult life.

For more information on Professor Frieden: http://home.comcast.net/~lfrieden/lex1.htm 

About the Facts

The Disability History Daily Factoids are presented each weekday in October to celebrate "Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month" in Texas. HB 3616, passed during the 82nd Legislative session, encourages public schools and state agencies to celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities. To learn more about Disability History, go to http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/resources/disability_history/.

Past Facts

For daily factoids from previous days, visit our archive: http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/resources/history_and_awareness_month_factoids