The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information






Dr. David Pfeiffer dies

Jan. 13, 2004 -- On Sat., Jan. 10, friends and colleagues of Dr. David Pfeiffer gathered for a memorial honoring his life and work. Dr. Pfeiffer died at his home in Honolulu on Dec. 17. He was 69.

A member of the Advisory Board of the Center for an Accessible Society, David Pfeiffer was resident scholar in the Center on Disability Studies and visiting scholar in the Dept. of Political Science at University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was formerly department chair and professor of public management in the Frank Swayer School of Management at Suffolk University in Boston.

Pfeiffer, who held a doctorate in political science from the University of Rochester, taught in universities for more than three decades, serving as mentor to numerous young disability studies scholars.

Throughout his life, he was also active in numerous disability rights initiatives on both the state and federal level. From 1977 to 1980 Pfeiffer served as the Massachusetts state director for the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals; from 1979 to 1989 he served as chair of the National Implementation Advisory Committee for the Conference recommendations. In Massachusetts he helped create a statewide cross-disability coalition of disabled citizens and served as its first chair, and worked to establish the state's Office on Disability and served six years as the chair of its advisory council. He is a former member of the Mass. Governor's Advisory Commission on Disability Policy, and was the main leader of the successful effort to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to forbid discrimination on the basis of disability.

Dr. Pfeiffer wrote extensively on a variety of issues most of them related to the field of disability, including transportation, health care, employment, education, legal and regulatory policy, and public attitudes. At the time of his death, he was working on a book about disability theories and preparing to launch a new scholarly publication, the Review of Disability Studies. He is a past president of the Society for Disability Studies and served as editor of the Disability Studies Quarterly, the Society's journal.

The American Public Health Association Disability Special Interest Group awarded Pfeiffer the Alan Meyers Award during its annual meeting in San Francisco in November 2003.

Contributions may be made to the Dr. David Pfeiffer Memorial Fund within the University of Hawai`i Foundation (Account #120-3263-4 (UAP)) Send to: University of Hawai`i Foundation, PO Box 11270, Honolulu, HI 96822-0270.