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Byrkett, Sharon Arvin, 1946-2009



  • Existence: May 11, 1946 - October 26, 2009

Biographical Information

Sharon Byrkett was born in Lafayette, Indiana to Clarence and Mary Arvin on May 11, 1946. She was an advocate for disability accessibility who led a crusade at Purdue to improve mobility conditions for the physically handicapped, as she was born with muscular dystrophy. Although she was accepted to attend classes at Purdue, the West Lafayette campus was largely inaccessible to individuals with physical disabilities. Byrkett, along with support of others, was instrumental in bringing about the building modifications that are now a part of Purdue's campus after the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was passed. She eventually transferred to IUPUI where she graduated with a degree in Social Work in 1984. After graduation, she began advocacy work through her employment at the Resource Center for Independent Living and Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. She also served on the Governor's Council for People with Disabilities and was a delegate to the National Council for People with Disabilities. Byrkett served on the board for the Indiana Association for People in Supported Employment and served as the chair and vice chair for IndyGo's Mobility Advisory Committee. Throughout her lifetime, Sharon received many awards and acknowledgements for her achievements. She passed away in Indianapolis in 2009 at age 63 after battling breast cancer. She was posthumously awarded the 2010 Focus Award from Purdue University in recognition of her outstanding contributions in the area of disability access and diversity.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Sharon Byrkett papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 320
Scope and Contents This collection contains awards, certifications, and honors documenting the life and achievements in social work and disability access and awareness of Sharon Byrkett. Of most prominence is a hand-written manuscript by Byrkett titled "Understanding My Disability" written in 1983. Other materials in the collection include a journal from 1967, photo albums and scrapbooks depicting events from her personal life and conferences attended, and craft items made by Byrkett. Digital files include works...
Dates: 1967 - 2010; Majority of material found within 1983 - 2010