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American Sign Language: "Gallaudet University"


Also see: "Gallaudet University"
 

 

 

Gallaudet University

            Gallaudet University was the first college to be opened for the Deaf and hard of hearing, where the primary language used was American Sign Language. It was established in Washington DC in 1986 by Edward Gallaudet. It took lots of hard work to get where it is today.

            It all started with the Columbia Institution for Instruction of the Deaf and the Dumb and the Blind. An investor named Amos Kendall hired Edward Gallaudet to be the superintendent of the school. He attended Yale and received his Bachelor and Masters degrees. In 1864, President Lincoln signed a document that allowed the students of the Institution to receive degrees for their education. Shortly after that, the phrase “and the Blind” was removed from the title of the school because it transformed into a strictly Deaf student school.

            The first ever graduate of the Columbia Institution was named Melville Ballard, receiving a Bachelor’s degree. “In the 1860’s, the tuition was only $150 for one year, and the most popular sport was baseball.” (Student Life-Gallaudet.edu) In 1893, the name of the Columbia Institution was changed to Gallaudet University in honor of Edward Gallaudet’s father, Thomas Gallaudet.

            Gallaudet toured Europe and visited the Deaf schools to learn what kind of methods the use for their teaching. What he discovered was that they needed to add more oral teachings to the students, although since some people really struggled with understanding language from lip reading, they decided to still use sign language. The first entire class to graduate consisted three men, who got their diplomas in 1869.

            In the history of Gallaudet University, there was a big protest concerning the President of the campus. It all began in 1988 when a hearing person was picked for the job, even though the students had previously requested a Deaf president for obvious reasons. The students and staff assumed since most of them were Deaf, that they would surely pick a Deaf person to run the place. Unfortunately, they were wrong. They were all so enraged that they shut down the campus due to the protest they were conducting outside the school. They had a list of reasonable demands for the new president.

            “The students and their backers then presented the Board of Trustees with four demands:

  1. Elisabeth Zinser must resign and a Deaf person selected president;
  2. Jane Spilman must step down as chairperson of the Board of Trustees;
  3. Deaf people must constitute a 51% majority on the Board; and
  4. There would no reprisals against any student or employee involved in the protest.”

(The History Behind DPN- Gallaudet.edu)

After only a week of the protest, the students had won. After the hearing president resigned, the new Deaf president Dr. I. King Jordan was elected.

In 1884, Gallaudet formed its first football team who were undefeated until they were beat in 1890 by Georgetown. One of the players named Paul Hubbard invented the football huddle that is used today by anyone playing the sport.

Gallaudet University is still standing today, educating hundreds of Deaf citizens. It recently developed a new logo for its name representing the sign for “Gallaudet”. There is a large number of majors that students may graduate under. “As the school is approaching its 150th anniversary, the school is going to acknowledge how the school has impacted the world, and even the nation.” (150 Years of Visionary Leadership-gaulladet.edu). It is clear that it is going to be something special, considering what amazing things the University has done to impact lots of people and lives.

 

 


 

 

WORKS CITED

"History of Gallaudet University - Gallaudet University." History of Gallaudet University - Gallaudet University. Gallaudet University, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.

 

"150 Years of Visionary Leadership - A Historical Timeline - Gallaudet University." 150 Years of Visionary Leadership - A Historical Timeline - Gallaudet University. Gallaudet University, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.

 

"Gallaudet University - Social Welfare History Project." Social Welfare History Project. N.p., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.


 



 

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