VCU to host renowned author and autism self-advocate Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin.
Temple Grandin will provide keynote remarks at “Creating a Culture of Access” on Nov. 5 at Altria Theater. (Courtesy photo by Rosalie Winard)

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., an internationally renowned autism self-advocate, author and professor of animal science at Colorado State University, will be the keynote speaker for “Creating a Culture of Access” on Nov. 5 at Altria Theater. 

The event is presented by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Transforming Accessibility Initiative, which is dedicated to inclusion and access for individuals with disabilities.

Grandin’s life story inspired the HBO film “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes. During Grandin’s keynote, she will share the challenges and successes of her life.

The schedule for “Creating a Culture of Access” includes:

  •  9 a.m. – Check-in and book signing with Grandin (various publications available for purchase).
  •  10 a.m. – Keynote address by Grandin.
  •  11:15 a.m. – Moderated panel discussion with VCU students, employees and alumni.
  •  12:15 p.m. – Champions of Accessibility Awards ceremony.
  •  1 p.m.  – Second book signing with Grandin.


The event is free and open to the public. For ticket information, visit

To watch the entire event via live-stream, visit

Grandin, who was diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum, has built a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer, one of a few in the world. She speaks around the world on autism and cattle handling and has been featured on National Public Radio and network television programs, including “Today” and “20/20.” A bestselling author of books on autism and animals, she also has appeared in many national publications, including Time, Forbes and People.

“Her work advocating for inclusion and increased understanding of the value in neurodiversity and differing abilities in society has been influential on an international scale,” said Ian Kunkes, director of the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity office and co-chair of the Transforming Accessibility Initiative. “Her personal mission so closely aligns with that of the Transforming Accessibility Initiative and VCU. We couldn’t be happier to welcome her to our community.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and

About VCU’s Transforming Accessibility Initiative

The Transforming Accessibility Initiative is a collaborative of individuals and teams dedicated to inclusion and access for individuals with disabilities. TAI offers expertise, assistance and resources to plan or otherwise support high-impact events. TAI strives to elevate the conversation around disability and foster a universal culture of inclusion and accessibility within institutions of learning and across our society. For more, please visit