New York (January 5, 2016)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the 2016 winners of the Migel Medals, the highest honor in the blindness field. The 2016 recipients are Michael Bina, Ed.D., Gordon Gund and Llura “Lulie” Liggett Gund.

"We are honored to recognize Michael, Gordon and Lulie for their outstanding achievements in the field of blindness and low vision," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Their tireless dedication and commitment to ensuring people with vision loss have equal access and opportunities truly capture the qualities this award represents."

The AFB Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements improve the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

The Migel Medals will be presented to recipients during AFB’s Leadership Conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., March 5, 2016.
About the Awardees

Michael J. Bina has served as president of the Maryland School for the Blind since 2008, where he is responsible for statewide programs that serve 56 percent of Maryland students who are blind or visually impaired.  Previously, he has held positions at the Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, Hadley and Perkins schools for the blind and the Metrolina Association for the Blind. Dr. Bina is a past president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB). He has served on the AFB board of directors and currently serves on the United States Association for Blind Athletes and VisionServe Alliance boards. He is the author of numerous professional journal articles and textbook chapters, and is a co-author of a curriculum textbook titled Looking Good. He has received awards from Lions Clubs International, the VisionServe Alliance, COSB and AER, among others.

Dr. Bina began his career in 1966 teaching swimming to students from the South Dakota School for the Visually Impaired while earning his bachelor’s degree at Northern State University, which recognized him as a distinguished graduate in 1994. After graduation, he served for three years as a United States Army Special Forces Military Intelligence Officer. Following his military service, he earned a master’s degree in Special Education in 1972 from California State University Los Angeles, which recently honored him as a distinguished alumnus. He later earned a doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado and served as a public school director of special education in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Mary, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Gordon Gund is chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation in Princeton, N.J. He is also the chairman and co-founder of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), a national non-profit dedicated to finding causes and treatments for retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, which Gund is blind from, and age-related macular degeneration. Gund has served since 1986 as lead director of the Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Mich. He was principal owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1983–2005 was a member of the NBA Board of Governors, serving as its chairman from 1996–1999. Gund also co-owned several NHL franchises, among them the Cleveland Barons, the Minnesota North Stars and the San Jose Sharks. He has served on the NHL Board of Governors and on the U.S. Olympic Committee. Gund also served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1961–1965.

Gund received his A.B. with a concentration in physical sciences from Harvard University. He also has honorary doctorates from Goteborg University, the University of Maryland, Whittier College, the University of Vermont and SUNY College of Optometry. He resides in Princeton, N.J., with his wife, Llura. They have two adult children and six grandchildren.

Llura “Lulie” Liggett Gund is president of the New Jersey chapter of FFB, and a member of the of the national FFB founding group. She also serves as a member of FFB’s national Board of Trustees. In 2013, Gund retired as vice president of the George Gund Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Since 1997, she has served as a member of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s (NCF) Board of Trustees, and has previously served on NCF’s Campaign and Development Committees. Gund has been involved with a number of organizations, including the Advanced Medical Research Foundation, the Medical Center at Princeton, Planned Parenthood, Recordings for the Blind and the New Jersey Environmental Federation.

Lulie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Vermont in 1995, and was a co-recipient of the Spirit of Helen Keller Award from Helen Keller International in 2008.

About AFB
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

Amanda Kolling
AFB Communications