Gallaudet University

What is about this university that stands out from any other universities in the world? It is the only university where everyone speaks a language in visual-spatial modality which is sign language. This liberal arts university provides programs and services for the deaf and some hearing students in bilingual languages (ASL and written English).

Gallaudet University is located in Washington, D.C., home to a large, cultural and lingual vibrant community of the deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The campus is only 1.5 miles (about 10 minutes drive) away from the U.S. Capitol.

Trivial Pop Quiz: Who sign on the BA degrees for Gallaudet graduates? Select one.

A brief history of Gallaudet

The first college for the deaf, "the Columbia Institution for the Deaf", was established in 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law. The two acres of the land in northwest Washington, D.C. was donated by the wealthy businessman Amos Kendall in 1856, originally to establish a school for the deaf. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet's son Edward Miner Gallaudet, who was the founder of this school, became the first president of this institution.

The name of this institution was later changed to Gallaudet College in 1954 after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.

In 1986, Gallaudet College was renamed to Gallaudet University when the college had been granted university status as President Ronald Reagan signed the act of the U.S. Congress (Education of the Deaf Act).

One of the historic marks of the university was the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement in 1988. It began with the resignation of President Jerry C. Lee in 1987. Leaders and Deaf communities nationwide joined together to urge the Board of Trustees to select a first deaf president. The Board of Trustees had narrowed down to a shortlist of 63 deaf candidates and three hearing candidates. Then, the final candidates were a hearing woman Dr. Elisabeth Zinser and two deaf candidates Dr. Harvey Corson and Dr. I. King Jordan. The Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Zinser as Gallaudet's next president.

In reaction to this decision in March 1988, Gallaudet students and supporters launched the highly organized DPN protest with four demands: 1) deaf president 2) the chair of the Board of Trustees to be resigned 3) 51% of the deaf Board of Trustees 4) no reprisals. The faculty, students, staff, alumni, deaf community members across the U.S. and Canada, and supporters aboard unified in the protest. By the end of the week-long protest, Zinser resigned. I. King Jordan was selected as Gallaudet's eighth president and the first deaf president. The other three demands were met. This week-long protest ended. It changed the history of deaf education.

Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano (1963-) was selected as the 11th president of Gallaudet University n 2016. She is the first deaf woman to become president of Gallaudet University.

On the campus

Gallaudet University has a full of rich stories and amazing legacies, including the iconic clock tower.

There are many rich stories and legends on the campus. Gallaudet is often a place where deaf students experience enormous personal growth.

Dr. Gertrude Galloway tells some of her personal, rich stories of her days at Gallaudet University.

Resources

History of Gallaudet University. https://www.gallaudet.edu/about/history-and-traditions/

Related posts

Gallaudet's Bison Song, a sports cheer.

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Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

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