Koch to discuss disability rights and awareness in Coe lecture

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2015-03-12 10:08:49 - General

Matan Koch, a prominent disability rights attorney and a Presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability, will speak on disability rights, awareness and inclusion in an upcoming lecture at Coe College. The presentation will be held on Tuesday, March 24, beginning at 7 p.m. in Dows Theatre. It is open to the public at no charge, with a reception to follow the lecture.

Koch learned at a very early age that the key to succeeding with a disability was to focus on the many abilities with which he was blessed, rather than focusing on those things that he was unable to do. Speaking from an early age on the simple idea that we all have strengths and weaknesses and we maximize our potential by focusing on the strengths, he has spent his entire life living this idea and encouraging others to do so.

Koch's first formal role working to maximize the value of people with disabilities was as a Yale undergraduate. As the president of the student disability community, he worked with the office of the president of the university to completely modernize and overhaul the university's systems for helping students with disabilities to more fully capitalize on their academic experience. In a citation upon his graduation, the university said, "he did more than anyone in recent memory to raise awareness about disability. He has our admiration and gratitude for making Yale a more inclusive community." Also during that time, Koch was appointed to his first political office, as a member and then the vice-chair of the New Haven disability commission.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, he spent two years in the general counsel's office at the Procter & Gamble Company. While there, Koch balanced his practice of commercial law with opportunities to consult on disability issues, including serving as part of P&G's disability network as it began to explore how the company could better leverage the value represented by people with disabilities, both as employees and consumers. At the same time, Koch began speaking and advising area synagogues on how to enrich their programs by including more people with disabilities.

In 2007, Koch moved on to a private law firm in New York, where in addition to a thriving litigation practice, he consulted with the firm on issues of disability as they arose. He continued advising other organizations on the side. In 2011, while still at the law firm, Koch was honored to be appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on Disability, a role that he held until May 2014.

Koch now uses this wealth of experience to help his clients commercialize and capitalize the talent, purchasing power and experience of the disability community.  He also frequently speaks on these topics.

Koch's Coe visit is being sponsored by the Coe Committee on Diversity, the President's Office, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the English as a Second Language Office.

For more information, visit coe.edu or call 399-8581.