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OARacle Newsletter

OCALI honored Mike Maloney, OAR’s former executive director, with the Jon Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award at OCALICON, its premiere autism and disabilities conference, on November 17, 2023. Mike Maloney served as OAR’s executive director from OAR’s founding in 2001 to December 2022. During his 21-year tenure, OAR funded over 308 research grants totaling more than $4.7 million and published a Life Journey through Autism guidebook series to support hundreds of thousands of families impacted by autism. Thanks in no small part to his work, OAR continues to provide a wide array of opportunities and services for families, self-advocates, educators, and researchers.

Patricia Wright, a member of OAR’s Scientific Council, said, “Mike is the beautiful combination of a leader who manages the day-to-day but who can also dream. One of my most distinct memories of Mike is him asking the question, ‘What is the next big idea that OAR can take on to promote positive change for people with autism?’ Yes, he supported the smooth operations of OAR, doing great work day after day, but his hope for more was ever-present.”

The Jon Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a recipient who embodies the qualities and characteristics of the late Jon Peterson, who served as OCALI governing board chair for several years and was awarded OCALI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. After his passing in 2019, that annual award was renamed in recognition of his dedication.

OAR joins OCALI in congratulating Mike on this well-deserved achievement! We are grateful for everything he has done to make OAR the organization it is today.