2015 Mollie Burd Gavigan Service Award: Elise McMillan

We are very pleased to announce that the 2015 recipient of the Mollie Burd Gavigan Service Award is Mrs. Elise McMillan. Elise and Tom McMillan are parents of Will McMillan, who is DSAMT's Self-Advocate of the Year. Elise is the co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and has served as board member/officer of many disability organizations, including DSAMT, the National Down Syndrome Congress, The Arc of Tennessee, The Arc US, The Mayor’s Advisory Council on Special Education, and many, many others. More than 17 years ago, Elise, Sheila Moore and Joanne Drumright saw the needs in our community and created DSAMT out of the parent group. Since then she has been instrumental in helping to start the Down syndrome clinic at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Down syndrome research at Vanderbilt Medical Center, the post-secondary education program called Next Steps and has been the faculty advisor for the Best Buddies Chapter at Vanderbilt for 20 years. She has always been a part of everything that has led up to today with regard to Down syndrome in Middle Tennessee and continues to do so much for our community. She is a great parent, a voracious advocate, a trailblazer, and friend to us all – including Mollie. Our families, self-advocates, schools, physicians and community members not just in Middle Tennessee but nation-wide are truly fortunate and grateful for all that Elise has contributed. Please help me in congratulating and thanking Elise for everything she has and continues to do for us.