The University of Scranton: Academics: Annual Conference on disAbility

   Going Virtual This Year!

Conference Sessions Now Available

Click here to view sessions from the 19th Annual U.S. Conference on disABILITY.

Registration and Contact Information

Registration is closed for this year's conference. 

However, the site will remain open for registered participants for all session viewing for 90 days. You can access the site here. You will then need click on Join the Event and will be prompted to put in your name/email and will be sent a new log in password. 

For more information about this year's conference, please contact Dr. Rebecca Dalgin ( or Dr. Lori Bruch (

Conference Mission

The University of Scranton believes that disability is part of the human experience and that assisting individuals and families living with disabilities to achieve optimal quality of life requires multidisciplinary interventions, education, research and leadership. The mission of the Conference on disABILITY is to positively influence the quality of life and wellness of individuals and families living with disabilities by promoting in its deliberations the foundational principles of individualization, self-determination, productivity, employment, independence and full participation in community life by creating an effective learning environment, collaborative and focused discussion and the identification and sharing of effective practices useful in the United States and around the world.

Live Speakers


Dr. Mary Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism. Dr. Grandin is also a prolific author with over twenty books and numerous academic articles.


Christopher Banks,’86, G ’98,  has a comprehensive background in human services and the healthcare arena, where he has had a successful record of increasing fundraising efforts, measurably improving revenue strategies, and being a transformational leader committed to diversity and cultural growth. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Development and Community Engagement at Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville, Maryland; here, he provided leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of all philanthropic and community engagement efforts. His daily work supported the organization’s impact strategy, and aimed to accelerate growth while building strong community partners.

Previously, Christopher Banks served in a variety of leadership roles at Bon Secours Charity Health System in Suffern, New York, along with Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center. At both organizations, Chris established long-lasting relationships with external partners, philanthropic organizations and elected officials to further policy efforts and fundraising activities. He ensured that strategic efforts supported the brand’s mission and values, and was committed to cross-functional leadership across large teams.

Christopher has an MBA in Finance from Manhattan College, and his MS and BA degrees from University of Scranton.

A native of Hazlet, NJ, Christopher has spent the better part of the last 25 years in New York Metropolitan area, and has two adult children, Patrick and Quinn. He currently lives in Rockville, MD.


Jose H. Velasco Mr. Velasco’s 30-year Information Technology career spans private and public sectors and companies ranging from startups to Fortune 50 enterprises. During his tenure of 22 years at SAP, Mr. Velasco has occupied positions in product management, consulting, development, strategy, go-to-market and diversity functions.

Mr. Velasco participated as a panelist at the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day, testified before U.S. Congress on the “Global Challenge of Autism” and collaborated on the topic of Corporate Social Innovation at the World Economic Forum. He has presented the topic of autism in the workplace to private, public, educational and 3rd sector audiences in conferences around the world. Mr. Velasco was the recipient of the 2015 Employer of the Year Award by the Department of Rehabilitation of the State of California, The Brighter Futures Occupational Wellness Award by the Philadelphia DBHDS, SpArc Philadelphia Employer of the Year Award, on behalf of SAP, the 2015 Arc Catalyst Employer of the Year award and the 2016 Ruderman Family Foundation Best in Business Awards. Through his work at SAP Autism at Work, Mr. Velasco and his team have been featured in more than 1,800 global, national and local publications and TV/Radio segments including the Wall Street Journal, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC, Fox, Inc. Magazine and Forbes among others.

In 2016, Mr. Velasco launched the first Autism at Work Summit, a conference series designed to foster collaboration between private and public sectors, academia, government, schools, philanthropists, civil societies and the autism community with the ultimate purpose of improving opportunities for individuals with autism in the labor market.

Mr. Velasco is a board member of The Arc, the largest national community-based organization in the United States advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. He holds a Master’s Degree in Technology Commercialization from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and B.S. in Computer Science from Tecnologico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.


For more information on becoming a sponsor, please contact Meg Hambrose (