ADA Timeline

Graphic reading Celebrating 250 years of Rutgers and Disability Milestones, with the ADA 25 logo in the top right. The ADA 25 logo reads ADA (Americans with Disabilities ACT) 25: 1990-2015.

On the timeline below the ADA milestones are indicated on the left, and the Rutgers milestones are indicated with (R.U.) at the end of each title on the right.


1760 - First school for the deaf
Black and White image of first school for the deaf
1766 - Queen's College founded (R.U.)
1774 - First commencement exercises (R.U.)
1776 - Disabled man signs Declaration of Independence
Portrait of Stephen Hopkins


1801 - The Education of the Mentally Challenged
1809 - Cornerstone to the first building is laid - Old Queens (R.U.) Drawing of Old Queens Building
1815 - Tommas H. Gallaudet departs for Europe to seek methods to teach the deaf
1822 - American School for the Deaf adds vocational training to curriculum
1825 - "School reopens for good following periods of depressed economy and war. College is renamed in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers." (R.U.)
1845 - First fraternity organized. (R.U.)
1860 - Braille introduced in the USA
1868- 14th Amendment is passed, providing equal protection of laws and due process
1869 - First intercollegiate football gamed played, Rutgers vs Princeton. (R.U.)
Black and White image of first football game being played


1901 - Philadephia, PA starts special education classes.
1918 - New Jersey College for Women opens. (R.U.)
1919 - Paul Robeson gives valedictorian address. (R.U.) portrait of Paul Robeson
1919 - Easter Seals Precursor Founded
1921 - American Foundation for the Blind founded
1921 – The College of Agriculture, later renamed in honor of George H. Cook, opens. (R.U.)
1924 - Rutgers College officially becomes Rutgers University. (R.U.)
1927 - Iron Lung Invented Hospital of room filled with Iron lung machines
1932 - First disabled president of the USA
1945 - Veteran enrollment grows in post-war era. (R.U.)
1946 – Rutgers University and the University of Newark merge. Rutgers University-Newark is now a leading world-class urban research and teaching institution. (R.U.)
1948- The General Assembly of the United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1950 – Rutgers merges with the College of South Jersey and its School of Law to create the Camden Campus . Today, thier law school, nationally ranked, includes a state-of-the-art moot courtroom. (R.U.)
1952 - Rutgers professor recognized for research to develop tuberculosis antibiotic. (R.U.)
Image of Time Magazines cover which featured Professor Selman Waksman
1952- Two Rutgers oarsmen win Olympic gold in Helsinki. (R.U.)
1963 - Ed Roberts initially rejected by U.C. Berkeley
Picture of a man with a seeing eye dog, and a man in a wheel chair traveling together on campus
1964 - Birth of Livingston Campus - home of the Office of Disability Services. (R.U.)
1967 -- National Theatre of the Deaf is founded.
1967 -- In 1967, the School of Law earned autonomy from Newark’s law school. (R.U.)
1968 - First Special Olympics
1970 - Ed Roberts forms campus quads advocacy group.
Picture of Ed. Roberts next to a child
1971 - Charles Busch leaves Rutgers $10 Million for biological research (R.U.)
1972 - Section 504 (Public Law 92-603)
1972 - Rutgers College becomes co-educational (R.U.) picture of a women walking down the street at Rutgers next to a man going to class
1975 - The United Nations adopts a Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons.
1975 - Rehabilitation Act passes
1976 - FCC Institutes Closed Captioning
Closed Captioning Logo
1977 - In his October 2 New York Times op-ed piece, Rutgers University President Edward J. Bloustein writes about renewed spirit on the Rutgers campuses that “reflect the beginnings of a new era” (R.U.)
Picture of Edward Bloustein posing in front of a library stack of books
1978 - ADAPT founded
Man in a wheelchair at ADAPT event
1984 - George Murray becomes the first wheelchair athlete to be featured on the Wheaties cereal box
1989- Rutgers is inivited to join the prestigious Association of American Universities. (R.U.)
1990 - Americans With Disabilites Act becomes law.
Picture of President George H. Bush Signing the ADA
1999 - Artificial hand developed. (R.U.)
Am artifical hand planing the piano


2004 - First Disability Pride parade Participants in wheelchairs at the parade
2007 - The United Nations adopts the convention on the Rights of Persons
2007- A centralized Office of Disability Services is established to serve the New Brunswick Campus (R.U.)
2012 - Rutgers joins Big Ten Conference and Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). (R.U.)
2013- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updates Title I of the ADA
2013 - On July 1, the university establishes Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences , a multi-location academic, health, and patient services division comprising nine units from the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, three Rutgers units, and two joint university entities. (R.U.)

Image sources:;
A History of the Disability Rights Movement,
Nick Romanenko, 2007 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey