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Gallaudet University announced on February 28, 2014 the appointment of Representative G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) to its Board of Trustees effective immediately.

Chartered in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln, Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing that offers a bilingual learning environment in American Sign Language and English. The university is located in Washington, D.C., within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol.

In accordance with the Education of the Deaf Act, Butterfield was appointed to the university’s Board of Trustees by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“Gallaudet University is pleased to welcome Congressman Butterfield to the Board of Trustees,” said Board Chair Benjamin J. Soukup. “Congressman Butterfield has long fought for the equal rights and treatment of his fellow citizens and his proven leadership qualities will be an asset to our Board to guide the university in meeting the needs of present and future generations of students.”

Butterfield represents the first district of North Carolina which includes the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, a day and residential pre-kindergarten through high school program for deaf and hard of hearing children and young adults.

Butterfield, a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina, was first elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004. He serves in the Democratic leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and as First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Butterfield sits on the Committee on Energy & Commerce as the eighth most senior Democrat on the Health Subcommittee. In addition, he serves as a member of the subcommittees of Communications and Technology, and Oversight and Investigations.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Board of Trustees for Gallaudet University,” said Butterfield. “My district includes the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf and many students, alumni, and their families live in the area. Through my position on the Board, I will be an advocate for the deaf students and deaf community within my district, my home state, as well as the entire country.”

In Congress, Butterfield is known as a champion of affordable medical care, education, investments in rural communities, veterans, renewable energies, and federal programs that support low-income and middle-class Americans.

In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge. In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina. For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor. Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service before running for Congress.

Raised in Wilson, N.C., Butterfield was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a youth. His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as the first black elected official in Wilson since Reconstruction. His mother was a teacher for 48 years.

Butterfield graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. After earning his law degree, Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 14 years. He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African-American elected officials. Butterfield is also an U.S. Army veteran.

Congress also approved the continuation of the appointment of Representative Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) to the Gallaudet Board of Trustees. Yoder has served on the Board since 2011.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.

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