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08-16-2001

First Wheelchair User To Scale Mt. Rainier Visits Clarkson University Aug. 23 & 24

Peter C. Rieke, president of Mobility Engineering Inc. and the first wheelchair user to climb Mt. Rainier, will address graduate business students on Thursday, August 23, at Clarkson University's Bertrand H. Snell Hall.

Rieke will discuss with students the challenges and opportunities of designing, manufacturing and marketing assistive technologies. He will also join the graduate business students on Friday morning to participate in an eco-challenge, part of the weeklong orientation for incoming graduate business students. 

In addition, Rieke will speak on "The Frontier of Ability - Opening the Outdoors to Disabled Access" Friday, August 24, from 4-5 p.m. at the Clarkson University's Center For Health Sciences, Clarkson Hall, 59 Main St., Potsdam. This presentation is co-sponsored by Clarkson University and Canton-Potsdam Hospital. This presentation is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible. For more information, call the Center for Health Sciences at 315-268-3786.

While on campus, Rieke will meet with faculty members from the schools of Business and Engineering, and the Physical Therapy and the Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED) programs.

"This is an opportunity to create synergies and to build relationships across the curriculum," says Peter C. Diplock, professor of organizational studies in the School of Business. "What Rieke has done is critically important. He is a scientist by training who has a passion for developing assistive technologies to provide enhanced access for people with disabilities."

Brian F. O'Neil, professor of operations management and director of graduate business programs in the School of Business says that they are looking at how Clarkson might integrate projects in assistive technologies across the curriculum. "It would combine aspects of business and entrepreneurship, mechanical and electrical engineering, and physical therapy. The opportunities for students to participate and learn are tremendous."

Rieke, who is also a staff scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., founded Mobility Engineering with the purpose of creating mobility devices for people with physical disabilities. After being paralyzed in a 1994 rock climbing accident he invented the SnowPod, a human arm-powered tractor device that is similar to a small tank. Rieke used the SnowPod to successfully climbed Oregon's Mt. Hood in April 1998. In June of 2000, he reached the summit of 14,

411-foot Mt. Rainier, considered one of the most difficult climbs in the continental United States.

Rieke's visit to campus is sponsored by the Clarkson University School of Business.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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