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On President’s Day in February, Gallaudet University called on alumni around the world to donate their diplomas to commemorate the university’s 150th anniversary and 11 alumni responded. In all, 32 diplomas have been donated and are featured in an online display and in the Gallaudet Archives.

Gallaudet University diplomas are unique in that each graduating class has their diplomas signed by the sitting U.S. President. This unique tradition started with three members of the university’s first graduating class in 1869 with President Ulysses S. Grant signing each diploma and giving the commencement address (then referred to as “Presentation Day”.

Gallaudet University would like to thank: Dr. Harvey Goodstein ’65, Franklyn Amann, ’64, Astrid Amann Goodstein, ’65, and Paula Amann Chance, ’67 who donated the diploma of Alice Ruth Campbell ’30; Jennifer C. Grinder Witteborg ’83; James Mason Neeley ’74; Allison Polk ’06; Kathy Anne Jankowski ’80; Mona Blanchette McCubbin ’84; Valerie Lynn Dively ’82 and G-’84; Dennis Galvan, who donated the diplomas of his mother, Betty Jane Stark ’45 and father, John Galvan, Jr. ’43; and Barbara White ’75.

The ultimate goal is to secure at least one diploma from each of the 142 graduating classes. Please click here to see the online display.

Diplomas are being collected in preparation for 2014, when Gallaudet reaches an impressive milestone: its 150th anniversary. Sesquicentennial activities are scheduled for July 9-13, 2014. Even though the celebration is two years away, the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee has begun holding informational meetings and collecting ideas for the celebration. The diploma initiative is a large part of the historical preservation of Gallaudet University.

The online Gallery of Gallaudet University Diplomas was recently updated and is organized chronologically and grouped by U.S. President. Although the goal is to have at least one diploma from each graduating class, diplomas that are signed by the following U.S. Presidents are needed in particular:

Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
James A. Garfield (March 1881-September 1881)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
William “Bill” Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-present)

To donate a diploma, please email contact us.

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