Charter Day Brunch and Awards Program

“The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association will hold its 47th Charter Day Brunch and Awards Program on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Peikoff Alumni House. This annual event celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the University’s charter by President Abraham Lincoln on April 8, 1864.

This year’s award recipients are:

GUAA Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Melissa A. Malzkuhn, ’04 G-’08 (Md.)

This award is presented in recognition of a Gallaudet alumnus or alumna who has graduated from or left the University within the past 15 years, and who has performed an impressive service to the University and/or to the deaf community, or who has brought favorable recognition to their alma mater through notable achievement. Melissa, originally from Fremont, Calif., is manager of Digital Innovation and Media Strategies with the National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) at Gallaudet University. She has spearheaded a number of exciting initiatives, including the VL2 Storybook Apps. Outside of work, she has been involved with deaf youth organizations at the national and international levels.

GUAA Pauline “”Polly”” Peikoff, E-’36, “”Service to Others”” Award

Juliette “”Jo”” Bienvenu, ’75 (Tex.)
This award is presented to a hearing or deaf individual within the deaf community who has gone beyond expectations, especially as a volunteer, to serve individuals or organizations. Jo has a long and distinguished record of service to deaf organizations in Alabama, Florida, and Texas. Most recently and notably, she has led the Austin Club of the Deaf to its current stature as one of the most active and vibrant organizations of its kind, attracting young and old alike. She has also been involved with the Texas School for the Deaf Alumni Association, the Texas Association of the Deaf, Deaf Women United, Deaf Women of Austin, and many other groups.
LCCF Alice Cogswell Award

Dr. Peter M. Blumberg (Md.)

This award is presented to a person for valuable service on behalf of deaf citizens. Dr. Blumberg is a Senior Investigator in the National Cancer Institute Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics and Head of its Molecular Mechanisms of Tumor Promotion Section. For many years, he has welcomed to and mentored deaf and hard of hearing scientists in his laboratory. Many of his charges, nearly all Gallaudet University alumni, went on to receive advanced degrees in the biological and life sciences.
LCCF Amos Kendall Award

Melody Tsai Stein, E-’96 (Calif.) and Russell J. Stein, ’95 (Calif.)

This award is presented to a deaf person or persons for notable excellence in a professional field not related to deafness. Melody and Russ are the owners of Mozzeria, an Italian restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco, Calif. They and their all-deaf kitchen and wait staff serve pizzas cooked in a 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara oven. They have traveled the country in a 25-foot food truck, and have served pizza at community events.
LCCF Edward Miner Gallaudet Award

Dr. Valery Rukhledev (Russia)
This award recognizes a deaf or hearing leader who is working to promote the well-being of deaf people worldwide. Dr. Rukhledev is president of the International Congress of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). He was an accomplished wrestler and martial arts practitioner as a youth and young adult, and is a six-time Deaflympics gold medalist. He has been a leader for many years with The All-Russia Society of Deaf Persons (VOG), and the Russian national sports organization. Through these roles, he has been involved in many social causes, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. In 2014, he organized an international conference on linguistic rights of deaf people. As ICSD president, he has worked tirelessly to establish a string relationship between ICSD and the International Olympic Committee.

LCCF Laurent Clerc Award

Nyle L. DiMarco, ’12 (N.Y.)

This award recognizes outstanding social contributions by a deaf person in the interest of deaf people. Nyle, a mathematics major at Gallaudet, has acted in Freeform’s Switched at Birth. He was named America’s Next Top Model during Season 22, the final season of the Tyra Banks-created reality program on the CW television network. Critically acclaimed by deaf and hearing people for his genuine, down-to-earth performances throughout his run on ANTM, Nyle has done as much to spread deaf awareness. Nyle is now employed as a model with Wilhelmina Models, and is traveling throughout the United States and the world. Everywhere he goes, he advocates for language equality for all deaf children.

Tickets for the Charter Day Brunch and Awards Program are $40. Please make your check payable to Gallaudet University Alumni Association and mail no later than April 1, 2016 to:
Office of Alumni Relations, Peikoff Alumni House Gallaudet University

800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695 
For more information, please contact us.”

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