Alumnus Who Is Blind to Speak at ESU

David Denotaris completely lost his vision as a sophomore. Photo Courtesy / Briana Magistro
David Denotaris completely lost his vision as a sophomore. Photo Courtesy / Briana Magistro
David Denotaris completely lost his vision as a sophomore.
Photo Courtesy / Briana Magistro

By Briana Magistro

SC Staff Writer

With lab reports, practicals, exams, and papers, college may be tough at times! You may also be involved in university clubs, off-campus organizations, and employment. Imagine doing everything that you usually do while not being able to see a thing! This was the reality for Mr. David Denotaris, an ESU graduate.

Denotaris graduated in ESU’s class of 1992. He received a B.A. in communications. He then went on to earn his M.A. in administrative supervision, leadership, training and development at Montclair University in New Jersey, and was even selected to give the graduation address.

He has received the ESU Young Alumni Award, for his accomplishments in his field.

Denotaris is a nationally recognized speaker, traveling to promote self-motivation and successful paths in life.

He was also a three-time national power-lifting champion and has led a radio talk show! He really has had his hands in everything.

As mentioned earlier, Denotaris is blind. He has a rare eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This progressive disease causes gradual and total blindness.

Denotaris completely lost his vision when he was a sophomore here at ESU.

His family played a big role in his path to success by supporting him throughout his childhood. He tells some amazing stories about how his father inspired him to never let his disability get in the way of functioning in a sighted world.

Today, he heads six district offices and is the director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS), a branch of Occupational Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), which services thousands of clients throughout the state who are blind or visually impaired.

He also assists in running BBVS’s Summer Academy, a camp for high school students preparing for college who are blind or visually impaired.

Delta Alpha Pi (DAP), an honor society at ESU, is hosting Denotaris in Ableoff Wednesday, April 1 at 7:00 PM.

He will share his amazing stories, and will really get students involved in the talk.

Dr. Julie Walton, DAP’s advisor, said, “Over the years, Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society has sponsored several speakers that have enhanced the university community’s view of disability and have helped us include disability in the discussion of diversity.”

Kim Blagman, a senior and secretary of DAP, said, “I notice that there are few visually impaired role models to look up to as I venture through academia, adult life, and the working world. I look forward to hearing Mr. Denotaris speak because he is disabled and he is also accomplished, he’s a positive role model for all students.”

I have personally worked with Denotaris at the Summer Academy. His stories about the obstacles he’s overcome and the things he’s learned from having his disability are truly fascinating.

For me, a student with a visual impairment, Denotaris is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He has pushed me to pursue my dreams, no matter how hard it seems, or how few people with my disability have succeeded in my field of chemistry.

Come see Denotaris speak on April 1 in Ableoff. Doors open at 6:30 PM, and Denotaris will speak at 7:00 PM. This event will really speak to every student, no matter your major!

Dr. Walton added, “As faculty advisor for the Alpha Chapter of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society and co-founder of Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, I feel that DAP and the ESU community is fortunate to have this opportunity to interact with such a motivational speaker.”

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