Areas of Study

Board of Trustees Welcomes Two New Members

Gallaudet University is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of its Board of Trustees: Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter PhD ’85, and Dr. Gina A. Oliva ’77. We are proud that two more Gallaudet alumni will join the ranks of the Board as they both carry the Bison spirit and bring fresh expertise and energy to the group. Together, we will continue to strengthen the mission and vision of our beloved home.

Kerstetter is the fourth and current president of the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina. Kerstetter’s career has spanned more than 40 years in public and private higher education, encompassing a wide range of increasingly responsible roles in all segments of university and college governance. In his role as president, he works closely with student affairs, with faculty on academic and curriculum development, initiating and completing major advancement goals, and designing and implementing fiscal strategies.

Kerstetter is a recognized authority on assessment and strategic planning and has also authored numerous grants. He also has served on many state and national committees including the Boards at Thiel College, the State YMCA of Pennsylvania, the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, the Salina Area United Way, the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of Wayne County, a member of the Board of Conference Carolinas, and a member of the President’s Council for Division II of the NCAA.

Kerstetter holds a Ph.D. in Special Education Administration from Gallaudet, an M.Ed. in College Counseling from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. in Religion from Bucknell University.

Oliva was nominated to the Board by the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, replacing Dr. Harvey Goodstein. Oliva has been involved with issues of importance to Gallaudet since her arrival to the campus in 1971. While a senior at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., she spent her final baccalaureate year as a visiting undergraduate at Gallaudet. Her subsequent 36 years at Gallaudet included work in Student Affairs, Outreach, the Office of the President, and the Department of Physical Education. In all of these units, she provided leadership with innovative ventures.

Oliva’s national impact began in the late 1980s with the development and dissemination of visual cues, based on ASL principles, for use in group exercise classes. She trained instructors all over the United States in the use of these cues – many of which can still be observed in “Zumba” and similar classes today. For this work, she was named one of ten “Healthy American Fitness Leaders” in 1989 by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.

Her national impact continued with the publication of her first book, Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School (GU Press, 2004). This established her as a leading advocate for deaf and hard of hearing students in general education settings. In 2014 she published, together with Dr. Linda Risser Lytle, a second book, Turning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren. In the same year, Oliva was named to the Board of the American Society for Deaf Children where she continues today as an officer.

Oliva holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington College, a Master’s degree in Counseling from Gallaudet, and a Ph.D. in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Maryland.

Kerstetter and Oliva bring their extensive experience in higher education to Gallaudet and are committed to transformational leadership. Wisdom gained from their respective experiences over the years, coupled with their strong leadership skills, will provide essential components to the university during this pivotal time in our history.

Please join me in warmly welcoming them to our community.


Tiffany Williams, ’89

Chair, Board of Trustees

Recent News

Stay up to date on all the gallaudet happenings, both stories, and initiatives, we are doing with our Signing community!