by Erin Donohue
It came as an unexpected surprise to hear Adelphi University mentioned on the Jumbotron at a mid-June New York Mets game at Citi Field. The reason for the shout-out was that night’s Amazin’ Calls, a unique community program that connects a Mets player with someone local. This time it was first baseman Daniel Murphy reaching out to Richard Bedard, an incoming freshman at Adelphi University.
Richard got a personal phone call from Mr. Murphy, inviting him to attend the game and congratulating him on his acceptance to Adelphi. Richard, the first to be recognized in the program, was chosen by the Mets and National Grid (sponsor) to acknowledge an extraordinary accomplishment or for having overcome some great obstacle. In Richard’s case, he can be credited with both—he was not only accepted by every college to which he applied, receiving multiple scholarship offers, but has faced the challenges brought on by cerebral palsy for his entire life. When meeting Richard, you are instantly charmed by his infectious personality; his warm, welcoming smile is one that will take him far and make him a lot of friends.
“He’s going to be a star,” his mother, Dr. Dawn Mellish, said. Richard is one of four boys in his family and a triplet. The other triplet brothers chose to attend another college while Richard, looking to set himself apart, decided on Adelphi. ”For as long as I can remember, Adelphi has been a part of my life, and when I got older it was part of my college thinking,” Richard explained. Having attended the Henry Viscardi School (HVS), one of the nation’s foremost institutions for educating children with severe physical and medical disabilities, he had a connection to Adelphi through the student-teachers he met during his adaptive physical education classes. Many of his classroom teachers also have a connection to the University.
Kim Albrecht, M.A. ’90, the HVS senior adviser for the Class of 2013, was a mentor to Richard. She taught him as a student in her Project R.A.M.P. (Reaching All My Potential) class and in Independent Living. She also organized a senior class trip to Medieval Times, which he recalls as the highlight of his senior year. Looking ahead, Richard shares his excitement about living on campus and gaining independence.
He looks forward to being very involved in clubs and student government as well as cheering for Adelphi’s sports teams. Academically, he plans to begin his studies in communication and then switch to a pre-law track. His ultimate goal is to become a lawyer so that he can advocate for people with disabilities. With high hopes for his time in college and a solid lead on what his career will be, Richard definitely feels like a star on the rise. “I know Adelphi is a great school; I hope to make it better,” he said.