OKLAHOMA CITY — ECU Professor Dr. Randal Elston recently earned the first Lifetime Achievement Award ever given by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to a person not employed by the agency. Elston, who is himself a person with disability, accepted the honor during a presentation in the State Capitol Blue Room as part of People with Disabilities Awareness Day. "Dr. Randal Elston has devoted his life to making the vocational rehabilitation world a better place for people with disabilities and has successfully educated a generation of vocational rehabilitation professionals.,” DRS Director Michael O’Brien, Ed. D. said during the awards ceremony. "Today, 99 percent of his East Central University graduates are working in disability-related fields with the majority still in Oklahoma.” A native of Rocky, Oklahoma, Dr. Elston graduated from high school in Hobart. He received vocational rehabilitation services from DRS to prepare for employment. He earned a doctorate of education in educational psychology with an emphasis in rehabilitation, a master of science in psychology with an emphasis in rehabilitation counseling, both from Oklahoma State University, and a bachelor of arts in human resources with an emphasis in rehabilitation education, graduating in the first rehabilitation education class at East Central University. Dr. Elston was once employed by DRS as a vocational evaluator, but has spent the majority of his career as a professor and director of graduate rehabilitation counseling education programs at Oklahoma State University, Mississippi State University, Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and ECU. He is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CVE). As the current Oklahoma Statewide Independent Living Council chair, Dr. Elston has revitalized this consumer-driven organization. He has served as president of the Oklahoma and National Vocational Evaluation Associations and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association and is the author of many publications. Dr. Elston has earned East Central University’s Department of Human Resources Counselor Distinguished Alumni Award and Teaching Excellence Award, the National Vocational Evaluation Association Service Award and The National Rehabilitation Southwest Region Meritorious Service Award.