SOE News

Rud and Ann Turnbull to give William C. Friday Distinguished Lecture on March 25

Rud and Ann Turnbull

Dr. Rud Turnbull and Dr. Ann Turnbull – professors, researchers and advocates in the field of disabilities – will give the School of Education’s William C. Friday Distinguished Lecture on March 25.

The Turnbulls, who started their careers at UNC-Chapel Hill, have worked in the field for more than four decades. Their talk is entitled “Families’ Contributions to Special Education: From Civil Rights to Ethical Communities.”

Between the two of them, the Turnbulls have authored more than 40 books – including two leading textbooks now in their seventh and eighth editions – and more than 500 articles and chapters.

In 1999, they were selected as two of 36 individuals who have “changed the course of history for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 20th century.”

After starting their careers at Carolina, they took positions at the University of Kansas in 1980 and were there for 34 years. Among their accomplishments, they co-founded the Beach Center on Disability in Lawrence, Kansas, which serves as a hub of national and international research and development on contemporary issues impacting the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families.

They remain Emeriti Distinguished Professors of Special Education at the University of Kansas.

The Turnbulls are co-authors of “Families, Professionals, and Exceptionality: Positive Outcomes through Partnerships and Trust,” considered the leading textbook used to prepare future special education teachers to develop trusting partnerships with families.

The Turnbulls recently retired and moved back to North Carolina.

The William C. Friday Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series enables the School of Education to bring an internationally renowned scholar to campus to address issues related to early childhood.

Named for William C. Friday, who served as president of the UNC system from 1956 to 1986, the lecture enhances the William C. Friday Distinguished Professorship at the School of Education and recognizes Friday’s commitment to the children and families of North Carolina.

RSVP by March 20

The lecture – at The Carolina Inn – begins at 4 p.m. with a reception to follow. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by March 20 to Laurie Norman by email at or by calling 919-843-6979.