Mary E. Switzer

Governmental Advocate

Best known for her pioneering and influential work in the federal rehabilitation-agency sector, Mary E. Switzer also had a fine federal-government career. After graduating from Radcliffe College in 1921, she worked at the Minimum Wage Board, for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, then, Public Health Service, and Federal Security Agency. She became Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1950, Commissioner of the Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in 1961, and Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service in 1967, funding research and developing and expanding many programs benefiting people with disabilities. (The OVR went through several name changes, reflecting its changing scope.) She was instrumental in underwriting the National Theatre of the Deaf. Honored and loved, she retired in 1970 and died in 1971.

Photo courtesy of NTID/RIT

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