Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leaders and Legends: Cleo Dolan

Cleo Dolan
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Cleo Dolan was born in 1918 in Ohio, was awarded a bachelors degree in 1941 and masters degree in Social Administration in 1945 from Ohio State University. He also attended Franklin Law School and did post graduate work at Ohio State University. He and his wife Elinore have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

From 1952 to 1956 Cleo Dolan served as Social Service Supervisor and then as Assistant Superintendent for the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster, Ohio. He was the Director of State Services for the Blind from 1957 to 1958.

Cleo Dolan served 30 years (1958-87) as Executive Director of the Cleveland Society for the Blind. Under his dynamic and capable leadership this agency became the third largest private multi-purpose agency in the nation serving blind persons. He was an innovative thinker, a man ahead of his time. The following serve to illustrate this point: in 1959 a low vision clinic was established; in 1961 children's services were established; in 1962 the Aids and Appliances Department opened; in 1969 an intensive rehabilitation program designed especially for teenagers was initiated; in 1971 the Cleveland Society became the first agency to field test the Optacon; in 1972 a Food Service Training Program for snack bar managers was established, a first in the country; in 1975 the Society was designated as a regional center for deaf-blind students; and in 1978 the first Independent Living Residence Training Center in the United States was opened. Keeping step with the electronic age and thus, opening a whole new world of employment, the Society opened the Saint Ann Foundation Electronic Training Center, the first of its kind for blind persons and the Storer Center, one of the finest computer access centers in the country for blind people. He started planned giving in the 1950's and left the agency in good financial health when he retired. Many would agree that the Cleveland Society was a pace setter particularly in job training that others sought to emulate.

Cleo Dolan's professional organizational affiliations are numerous: National Rehabilitation Association, Life Member; American Association of Workers for the Blind, Life Member and President (1971-1973) with Cleveland hosting the national convention twice; board member for National Industries for the Blind, National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving Blind and Visually Handicapped, and the American Foundation for the Blind. He was active in the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, Affiliated Leadership League for the Blind of America, National Presidents' Association of Agencies Serving Blind and Visually Handicapped Persons, Lancaster Masonic bodies, Lancaster Rotary International, Heights Lions Club, and Garfield Memorial Church. Cleo Dolan represented the United States at international conventions in Russia (1973) and Brazil (1974). In 1988 he was the distinguished recipient of the National Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (NARF) award.

Cleo Dolan Cleo Dolan's Hall of Fame Plaque
About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.