Gallaudet University’s Office of Institutional Advancement held two events in May 2024 to spread awareness about the Necessity of Now (NOW) fundraising campaign. 

Gallaudet’s annual President’s Circle Commencement Celebration held on May 9 at Ole Jim was an opportunity for President Roberta J. Cordano, Institutional Advancement Executive Director Nicholas Kiego, ’09, and IA staff to celebrate the donors who gave $1,000 or more to the University this year and to share more details about NOW.

President Bobbi presenting on an stage

In addition to President’s Circle members, attendees included Gallaudet leaders, Board of Trustees members, 2024 Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, Dr. Madan Vasishta and Mr. Alfred Sonnenstrahl. 

The new campaign video was shown for attendees so they could learn more about Gallaudet’s first fundraising campaign in 20 years.

NOW spotlights the rich history, culture, and achievements of Black Deaf people who continue to face barriers to educational success and employment opportunities. NOW will fund the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children, the world’s largest monument to the Black Deaf community and outdoor learning space, as well as research and programming at Gallaudet’s Center for Black Deaf Studies (CBDS) and student scholarships. NOW officially launched at Homecoming last October. As of May 1, $9.1 million of the $23 million goal has been raised. 

“The campaign has been a great experience. We have been going all over the country meeting donors to share this inspiring story,” said Kiego. “I feel excited that I am part of something that will transform our campus and make it even more of a destination in Washington, D.C. People will be curious about the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens and they will come to campus to explore it.” 

A photo of an audience watching a presentation

At the heart of the campaign is the story of Mrs. Louise B. Miller, a trailblazer who fought for educational justice for Black Deaf children during segregation. 

“This story is so powerful that we knew it had to be the center of our next big fundraising campaign,” said President Cordano. 

“We need your support to achieve our campaign goal. We cannot do any significant groundbreaking work like this without loyal donors like you,” she said to attendees. “Your support helps provide the unshakeable foundation for Gallaudet. You are part of the core heartbeat of Gallaudet.” 

On May 16, about 60 people attended the Gallaudet Staff Council Spring Social in the Sorenson Language and Communication Center atrium. 

Evon Black, ’87 & G-’96, associate director for CBDS, and Smitha Hanumantha, G-’11, IA fundraising campaign manager, shared campaign details for the group. 

“Black Deaf people have never experienced freedom that was a straight line,” said Black to the attendees. “Some of you have experienced privileges that led you directly to where you wanted to go, but we, as Black Deaf people, have had to take a more difficult and meandering journey to arrive at the same place.”

“This campaign is not just our story as Black Deaf people, it is your story, it is everyone’s story,” said Black. “The world needs to know this important history.” 

To learn more about NOW and to make a gift, please visit:

Photo by Jett Amos

Recent News

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