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 2014 Commencement Honoree

Lester Cory ’63Lester Cory ’63
Chancellor’s Medal

Professor Emeritus, UMass Dartmouth College of Engineering

Professor Emeritus Dr. Lester W. Cory has been a member of the UMass Dartmouth community for more than 50 years. He began his teaching career at Bradford Durfee College of Technology (predecessor of UMass Dartmouth) in Electrical Engineering. In 1981, he and two fellow professors incorporated the nonprofit SHARE Foundation (Society for Human Advancement through Rehabilitation Engineering) to provide adaptive equipment for people who are disabled. He is the founding director of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Rehabilitation Engineering.

His work to assist people with disabilities began when Professor Cory read about a young woman with cerebral palsy whose sole means of communication was shifting her gaze to select letters on a Plexiglas board. He enlisted the help of Professor Philip Viall, and together they developed a computer system that enabled her to spell words, write sentences and to “speak” using an electronic voice.

Hearing of this success, families in similar situations sought solutions with Prof. Cory and his associates. This led to the establishment of SHARE, which financially supports the Rehabilitation Engineering Center. The Center has assisted more than 3,400 people across the country; and SHARE has received national recognition, including the prestigious President’s Volunteer Action Award and the American Institute for Public Service’s National Jefferson Award.

Professor Cory earned a BS in electrical engineering from Bradford Durfee College of Technology and an MS from Northeastern University. He is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Air Force War College. He served for 36 years in the Air National Guard, 22 in senior command positions. He retired in 1991 with the rank of Colonel. He is a licensed airplane pilot.