On February 13, 2014, Center on Disability Studies (CDS) Assistant Specialist Madeline L. Harcourt passed away at the age of 64. Originally from Massachusetts, Harcourt called Hawaiʻi home for more than 30 years. She earned both her BA and MA in political science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Beginning her tenure with CDS in 2001 as a volunteer and leadership trainee, Harcourt would become an employment content specialist just a few years later.
“I had the privilege of working with Madeline on projects ranging from volunteerism to professional development for postsecondary educators to employment,” Professor Steven Brown said. “The one commonality in all these projects was Madeline’s fierce desire to promote the integration of individuals with disabilities, especially those with hidden disabilities, into every segment of society. She will be greatly missed.”
Harcourt developed direct service projects, mentored new teaching assistants, and worked extensively with adults with hidden disabilities. A person with multiple hidden and physical disabilities herself, she was instrumental in creating the hidden disabilities topic area for the annual International Pacific Rim (PACRIM) Conference on Disability and Diversity.
Assistant Professor Megan Conway added, “Madeline was a strong advocate for people with hidden disabilities, serving as a mentor and advocate for numerous individuals and projects to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.”
In 2007, Harcourt was bestowed with the CDS Outstanding Faculty Contributions to People with Disabilities award. She also completed work toward a PhD in special education before having to drop out because of health issues.