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The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association will host the 48th Charter Day Brunch and Awards Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Peikoff Alumni House (“Ole Jim”). This annual event celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the University’s charter by President Abraham Lincoln on April 8, 1864.

GUAA and its Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund are pleased to announce this year’s award recipients:
Storm Smith, ’10, will receive the GUAA Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, which is presented to a young Gallaudet alumnus or alumna who has accomplished some notable achievement in his or her personal or professional life and bringing favorable recognition to the University.

Storm is a video producer in the Office of the President at Gallaudet University, and also works closely with the Office of the Vice President of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Her role is to create bilingual messaging to raise the profile of both the University and Clerc Center. She has been a strong advocate for deaf black people and for the LGBTQA community. As a student, and an alumna, she has been recognized time and again for her work, her passion, and her dedication to the causes that she holds dear.

Celia Mae Laramie Baldwin,’70, is the 2017 recipient of the Pauline “Polly” Peikoff “Service to Others” Award, which is given to individuals within the deaf community who have contributed significantly to the community, especially as volunteers. A retired teacher of deaf students, she has been active in numerous organizations over the years, including the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, the GUAA, the San Francisco Bay Area Coalition of Deaf Senior Citizens (BACDSC), the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, and much more. Her work with BACDSC is especially noteworthy; she has organized a myriad of programs to keep deaf senior citizens active and engaged, and to monitor their health and well-being.

The LCCF Alice Cogswell Award is presented to a person for valuable service on behalf of deaf citizens. This year’s recipient is Dr. Bobbie Beth Scoggins, E-’77 & H-’16, from Texas. Dr. Scoggins is well known as an advocate, lobbyist, athlete, scholar, researcher, educator, and performing artist.

She was executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 14 years, then became chief operating officer at Communication Service for the Deaf; she currently serves as director of the statewide Educational Resource Center on Deafness at the Texas School for the Deaf (Austin). She was the first woman to be elected president of the USA Deaf Sports Foundation and the fourth woman president of the National Association for the Deaf. She is also a noted performing artist with multiple stage and television credits.

The LCCF Amos Kendall Award, presented to a deaf person or persons for notable excellence in a professional field not related to deafness, is being bestowed on Leah B. Katz-Hernandez, ’10, District of Columbia. Leah served as West Wing Receptionist in the White House during the Obama administration, welcoming visitors from all over the country and the world.

She also oversaw the White House guest book and the West Wing’s meeting spaces. Prior, she served as First Lady Michelle Obama’s press assistant and research associate, and as an undergraduate worked in the Obama campaign. Leah has done a tremendous job increasing awareness and helping others understand how our government works.

The LCCF Edward Miner Gallaudet Award recognizes a deaf or hearing leader who is working to promote the well-being of deaf people worldwide. Stephen Lombard, of the Republic of South Africa, is one of the founders of the Deaf Community of Cape Town (DCCT), and is considered one of the most extraordinary grassroots activists and leaders in Africa. In his “day job” he oversees corporate responsibility as it relates to the deaf community. He has been a community worker and administrator at the Catholic Hostel for the Deaf, provincial director at DEAFSA (Deaf Federation South Africa), and public relations officer at DCCT. He was for many years a South African delegate to the World Federation of the Deaf.

The LCCF Laurent Clerc Award recognizes outstanding social contributions by a deaf person in the interest of deaf people. Michelle Banks, E-’89, District of Columbia, is an award-winning actress, writer, director, producer, choreographer, motivational speaker, and teacher. She is the founder and artistic director of Onyx Theater Company, the first deaf theater group in the United States oriented towards people of color. She has earned several awards for her work with Onyx.

A graduate of the State University of New York and Ashford University, she is nationally and internationally known for her one-woman show, Reflections of a Black Deaf Woman. She also starred in the world-acclaimed Compensation and directed Look Through My Eyes, a life celebration of Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant, a black, gay deaf man.
For more information, please contact us.

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