WATERTOWN, Mass. – Perkins School for the Blind has honored Marianne Riggio with the Anne Sullivan Macy Medal, the highest honor awarded by the institution, for more than 35 years of service to the deafblind community. As one of Perkins International’s most senior employees, Riggio has worked in 38 countries over the course of her career, playing in integral role in Perkins’ growth as a worldwide leader in the education of children and young adults with multiple disabilities.
“Marianne is a Renaissance woman who has leveraged her knowledge and dedication to tens of thousands of students throughout the world,” said Perkins International Executive Director Michael Delaney. “She has made a global impact with grace, love and the spirit of service and is truly deserving of this great honor.”
Riggio joined Perkins in 1981 with a master’s degree in multi-handicapped and deafblind education from Boston College. As an educational consultant for the New England Center for Deafblind Services – a federal grant program run by Perkins – Riggio coordinated services for children who are deafblind throughout the region in the 1980s. She has served as the director of the Educational Leadership Program (ELP) and international campus-related training since 2012. Additionally, Riggio has written or contributed to more than a dozen published works, including a textbook on deafblind communication.
The Anne Sullivan Macy Medal has been awarded since 1966 to individuals and groups around the world who have worked to break down barriers facing people who are deafblind. Previous recipients include former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, first lady Barbara Bush and U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Upon receiving the award, Riggio said, “philosophies, governments and the priorities in our field all change. The important thing is to stay grounded in what you believe in.”