Recognition for Guy Renzaglia, Founder of Two Illinois Industries

Southern Illinois University



Renzaglia, founder of Two Illinois Industries recognited

September 19, 2016, Carl Flowers and Micheal Mooney

${image-alt} L-R: Mr. Mooney, SIU Rehabilitation Counseling alum, Director of the the Return to Work, Inc, and past president of Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Professionals.
Karen Renzaglia, SIU Associate Dean of Science, and daughter of Dr. Guy Renzaglia. Carl Flowers, SIU Director and Professor in the Rehabilitation Institute
Guy A. Renzaglia has been unanimously voted to receive the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-Illinois Chapter.   The award, to the former Director and Professor of the Rehabilitation Institute of Southern Illinois University (1955-1978) is in recognition of his many contributions made to the field of human services.

The award honoring Dr. Renzaglia will be presented at the annual educational seminar of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals – Illinois Chapter on September 15 in Naperville, IL.  President Dave Patsavas stated, “We are proud to extend this long overdue honor to Dr. Renzaglia.  His distinguished achievements led the way in training counselors to serve in the field of rehabilitation.”

Carl Flowers, Director and Professor in the Rehabilitation Institute, will be accepting the award on behalf of the Institute and the College of Education.  “It is an honor to accept this award, recognizing Dr. Renzaglia and all he meant to our field and profession,” Flowers said.  “Dr. Renzaglia was a pioneer in our field, and this award reflects the high esteem that others statewide and nationwide had for him.”

Dr. Renzaglia founded the SIU-C Rehabilitation Counselor Training Program in 1955 and the Rehabilitation Institute.   It is one of the oldest programs in the United States dedicated to training specialized counselors.  It was funded through the 1954 Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Today there are 6 rehabilitation counselor training programs at universities across Illinois.

In 1957 Dr. Renzaglia secured a 3 year federal grant to make the Southern Illinois University campus barrier free for those with physical challenges.  This assisted in creating ramped entryways, curbed sidewalks, and elevators to allow mobility and visually impaired students attend classes.  This focus on access was done well in advance of the federal laws which later required federal contractors to develop barrier free facilities. In 1969 he also created a program of special services for students with disabling conditions.  Again, his forward thinking and leadership advanced programs which are now commonly found in colleges throughout the country.

After retirement from the Institute, in 1978 he pioneered the development of the wine industry in the State of Illinois.  As a founder of the Alto Vineyards and Winery he demonstrated the financial viability of growing grapes and producing wine.  He shared leadership in the industry by working cooperatively with the startup vineyards which soon took hold in southern Illinois. He co-founded the Shawnee Wine Trail which has grown to include 15 wineries and 55 vineyards. He was also the founder and first President of the Illinois Grape Growers Association.

Now in its 61st year of academic programming, the Rehabilitation Institute academic offerings include three Bachelor’s degrees (Behavior Analysis and Therapy, Communication Disorders and Sciences and Rehabilitation Services), four Master’s degrees (Behavioral Analysis and

Therapy, Communication Disorders and Sciences, Rehabilitation Administration and Services and Rehabilitation Counseling) and Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation degree are offered.

To date there are over 3,500 graduates of the Rehabilitation Institute’s masters and doctoral programs, and graduates are found in nearly state of this nation and on almost every continent around the world. Flowers said graduates work in such varied settings as hospitals, schools, public agencies, human service organizations, governmental agencies, universities and the private sector.