In 1972, Mark Sawyer came to USL (now UL Lafayette) to pursue a degree in Psychology. Since he has recently lost his sight to diabetes, he had special educational needs. USL purchased adaptive equipment in order to assist Mark. This equipment was placed in an office in Handicapped Student Services, which later became known as Services for Students with Disabilities (now known as the Office of Disability Services).
In the early 70’s, there was no committee or organization at USL to address accessibility issues. Mark initiated and named it the Beacon Club.
While attending USL, Mark was also Student Government Association President. He graduated with Honor’s and went on to receive a Masters of Science degree in Psychology. Ten years after he obtained his masters degree, Mark died of complications from diabetes.
The Beacon Club awards the Mark Sawyer award each year to a student who has helped promote disability awareness.