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Susan Gordon Ryan '67 Receives 2022 Justice and Peace Award

Sacred Heart Academy kicked off the 2022-2023 school year by holding their annual opening school Liturgy where students, faculty, and staff join in prayer for the SHA community.  Another tradition on this meaningful day is the presentation of the Justice and Peace Award to an individual who has made a difference by her work in an area of justice.  This year’s recipient is Susan Gordon Ryan '67.  Susan has built a successful career committed to improving the rights of people with disabilities.

Stricken with polio as a young girl, Susan Gordon Ryan struggled to find her place throughout her childhood.  Often excluded from activities and forced to catch up after long absences due to many surgeries, a passion for equality and access for all students was born.  She began her career as a special education teacher at the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, New York. After holding a variety of professional positions in the fields of education, government, and social reform for individuals with disabilities, she worked for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

She founded the "Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged," a fitness and competition program for children with disabilities, which serves approximately 2,000 children each year. As a woman with a disability, Susan was able to use her personal and professional background to develop this unique and innovative program.

Susan has remained very active in the Long Island community. She currently serves on several boards including Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, New York.  Susan studied at St. John's University, Jamaica, New York where she received a BA in Education. She also studied at Oxford University, England and University of Grenoble, France. In addition, she studied at SUNY Stony Brook University, Stony Brook where she received an MA in Education.

Susan is active in her parish, Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, as well as Sacred Heart Academy and St. Johns University.  She resides in Point Lookout with her husband Frank and their children Shayne and Taylor.  The entire family has been educated and fully benefitted from Catholic Education and we are so proud to bestow the 2022 Justice and Peace award to her and to proudly call her a SHA alumnae.