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July 28, 2005
Contact: Karen Salisbury Henry, Schiefelbusch Life Span Institute, (785) 864-0756.

Peruvian Congressional Medal of Honor given to KU-affiliated center for children

LAWRENCE -- A University of Kansas affiliated center, Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú, received the Peruvian Congressional Medal of Honor yesterday.

Liliana Mayo, director of Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú, an affiliate of KU's Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, accepted the honor for the internationally recognized center for children and adults with developmental disabilities -- the first in Peru -- she founded in 1979.

As a young teacher, Mayo started a school for children in the garage of her parents' home in 1979 but wanted more for the families and children who came to her school: She wanted them to benefit from the state-of-the-art disabilities research and education at KU.

In 1985, she began an arduous but exhilarating 11-year journey to her Ph.D. and, literally, between Lima and Lawrence. She attended KU in the spring semesters and applied her new knowledge at the center during the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the center grew, and more and more of her KU colleagues made the pilgrimage to Lima to both teach and learn.

Today the Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú serves 350 children and adults through 21 clinical, professional and parent programs and serves as a model for programs in Perú and in eight other countries. Mayo has been supported by a steady stream of her KU colleagues -- close to 300 -- who have volunteered as consultants, trainers, administrators and fund-raisers, notably, Judith Le Blanc, professor emerita, who serves as research director, and former Life Span Director Stephen Schroeder and professor emerita Carolyn Schroeder, directors of the nonprofit Annie Sullivan Enterprises, which helps raise funds for the organization.

In 2003, Mayo received KU's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation, bestowed on those who have become leaders in their professions and communities. She also has received the Peruvian Professional Excellence award, the Cuban Medal of Honor and the Queen Sofia of Spain International Award.

Mayo teaches at the University Cayetano Heredia and the Catholic Pontificate University in Lima. Since 1996 she has been an honorary associate professor in KU's Department of Applied Behaviorial Science.

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