Gallaudet University is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Trustees. Dr. Charlene Dwyer and The Honorable Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, ’92-’05 & ’09, will begin their tenures at the October 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.

“I give my personal appreciation for the due diligence by the Board of Trustees in considering these two highly accomplished individuals as trustees,” said Board Chair Dr. Benjamin Soukup. “I have complete confidence that their participation on the board, as well as the leadership of our incoming chair, Heather Harker, will ensure our continuing success in serving future generations of Gallaudet students.”

“Gallaudet University is honored to have Dr. Charlene Dwyer and The Honorable Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen on our Board as we make key decisions that will guide the university into the future,” said President T. Alan Hurwitz. “Both are highly esteemed advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing community as well as for people with disabilities. They bring vast amounts of professional experience to the Board that will be invaluable as we strive to achieve the goals outlined in the current and forthcoming Gallaudet Strategic Plans.”

Dwyer has 37 years of experience in the development and provision of services to individuals with disabilities and demonstrated ability in program administration, responsible resource management, and building and maintaining successful stakeholder partnerships. Since April 2012, Dwyer has served as the Director of Initiatives, with a national scope of responsibility, for MAXIMUS Federal Services, the Operating Support Manager for the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program. Before her current position, Dwyer served for more than a decade as the Administrator of the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Dwyer’s recent and current employment and rehabilitation leadership commitments include as treasurer and executive board member of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR); PartnershipPlus committee co-chair and executive board member for the National Employment Network Association (NENA); Employment and Social Security Committee member for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL); advisor to the National Rehabilitation Clearinghouse on Rehabilitation Training Materials; advisor to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on effective evidence-based practices in vocational rehabilitation; co-chair of the CSAVR Human Resource Committee; and member of the Conference Planning Committee for the RSA/National Council Rehabilitation Education/CSAVR.
Dwyer holds a B.A. in Communication Disorders, an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling – Communication Disorders, and an Ed.D. in Counselor Education from Northern Illinois University.

The Honorable Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, ’92, ’05 & ’09, is a Gallaudet alumna who in 1999 became the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African Parliament. A global commitment to bring fair and equitable treatment to deaf people and individuals with disabilities has been expressed through Newhoudt-Druchen’s work with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), where she currently serves as vice president. She was previously president of the organizing committee for the XVI WFD Congress in Durban, South Africa.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Gallaudet, Newhoudt-Druchen returned to South Africa and put her social work and leadership skills to work for a local organization, Deaf Community of Cape Town. She was later hired as provincial director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA), where she went on to serve as national chair and president. In 1999, she was elected to the South African Parliament. During her tenure as a member of Parliament, she has chaired the body’s Joint Monitoring Committee on the Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth, and Disabled Persons, as well as served on committees related to communications, international relations and labor.

Recognition Newhoudt-Druchen has received for her achievements in promoting the rights of deaf people include, but are not limited to, the WFD’s Award of Merit, Outstanding Young Alumnus by the Gallaudet University Alumni Association and the Edward Miner Gallaudet Award from the Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund. In 2009, she was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Gallaudet. Newhoudt-Druchen was named Visionary Leader of the Month for November during Gallaudet’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration.

Newhoudt-Druchen earned a B.A. in social work in 1992 and an M.S. of social work in 2005 from Gallaudet.

Incoming Chair Heather Harker and incoming Vice-Chair Duane Halliburton begin their tenures on October 1. To learn more about Harker and Halliburton, click here.

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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