Mariette J. Bates retired in August of 2022 from her position as Distinguished Lecturer and Academic Director of the Disability Studies Program at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies. Dr. Bates began her career as an advocate for the institutionalized mentally ill, before becoming the Program Director at One to One, a foundation started by Geraldo Rivera in the wake of his exposé of Willowbrook State School on Staten Island. At One to One, Dr. Bates was responsible for the grantmaking program, training and technical assistance to grantees, and for convening and training court-appointed monitors overseeing consent decrees and other institutional reforms.
In 1983, she co-founded the Maidstone Foundation, working on systems change advocacy for unserved and underserved populations of New York and the country. In 1989, Maidstone began providing direct services to Russian-speaking immigrants with disabilities, serving over 150 families. Other projects included Pedihabilidad, providing physical therapy for children with disabilities in Tena, Ecuador, and the Cross Mentoring project, supporting development of nonprofits in fundraising and planning.
Dr. Bates taught at the City College’s Center for Worker Education from 1993 – 2008, developing coursework in Disability Studies, Philanthropy, and Non-Profit Management. She became the Director of the Disability Studies Program at SPS in 2008, launching the new MA in Disability Studies in January 2009.
She created the first BA in Disability Studies in the country in 2012, and MS in Disability Services in Higher Education in 2016, which is also the first of its kind.
Dr. Bates holds a bachelor’s degree from Empire State College, a Certificate from Columbia University’s Institute for Not-For-Profit Management and a Ph.D. in Philanthropy and Developmental Disabilities from the Union Institute. She has received numerous awards, including the Marvin B. Sussman Dissertation Prize, Outstanding Alumna awards from Empire State College and the Union Institute, Leadership Awards from parents’ groups and the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, the 2007 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the City College’s Center for Worker Education, and Congressional recognition for outstanding service to the community. She is the stepmother of a 58-year-old man who was in Willowbrook and now lives in the community. She was the primary caregiver for her beloved husband, Duncan Whiteside, a renowned disability advocate who passed away in 2021. When she is at home she likes to read, play the mountain dulcimer, and is a news junkie.
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