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Schewel lecture series welcomes disability advocate Alycia Anderson

Published: Wednesday February 28, 2024

Award-winning TEDx speaker Alycia Anderson will visit the University of Lynchburg at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, in Hall Campus Center’s Memorial Ballroom. The event is part of the annual Rosel Schewel Lecture in Education and Human Diversity.

Anderson is an internationally known motivational speaker, disability advocate, DEI and accessibility corporate inclusion facilitator, podcast host for “Pushing Forward with Alycia,” and CEO of The Alycia Anderson Company LLC.

alycia anderson sitting in her wheelchair wearing a black top and pants on a city sidewalk

Despite being born with sacral agenesis, an underdevelopment of the spinal cord at the sacrum, Anderson was able to embrace her path, thanks to encouragement from her family and professors. After studying adapted education at California State University, Chico, she earned a master’s degree at KU Leuven in Belgium.

Since then, Anderson has been pursuing a full-time career as a diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility motivational speaker, as well as a corporate inclusion coach and mentor. She helps teams practice the theory of disability inclusion by sharing her personal story and inspiring others to reach their full potential.

Expanding on the benefits of workplace inclusion, she shows companies all over the world that creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and society can benefit their bottom line.

According to her website, her lectures are a combination of enthusiasm, comedy, and real-life anecdotes that “will make you cry one moment and laugh out loud the next.”

Anderson’s lecture at Lynchburg will focus on ableism, a form of discrimination or societal prejudice against individuals with disabilities that stems from the notion that average abilities are superior. She emphasizes that her disability has enhanced her life and allowed her to see life from a different perspective.

“As I read through the biographies of the speakers, Alycia’s story really grabbed me. I reached out to her and our conversation was incredible,” said Dr. Steve Smith, current interim dean of the College of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling.

“We spend a lot of time and energy on issues associated with DEI as it is one of the University’s strategic goals. This may help our students and attendees examine their own behaviors and biases that they never knew existed.”

The annual Rosel Schewel Lecture in Education and Human Diversity is made possible by an endowment established by the late Elliot Schewel in honor of his late wife, Rosel. For more information, contact Smith at