The following are diplomas granted to Gallaudet University graduate and undergraduate students and signed by the United States President Grover Cleveland, who was president from 1885 until 1889 and then again from 1893 until 1897.

President Cleveland attended the Presentation Day (Commencement) exercises on May 6, 1885.

Diplomas were also signed by Gallaudet President Edward Miner Gallaudet, president of the institution since its founding in 1864 until 1910.

During this period, the school was known as the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which included primary and college programs. The primary department was named Kendall School in 1885 in honor of the founder Amos Kendall.

In 1887, six women were admitted to the college on an experimental basis. The admission of women became permanent in 1888. In 1893 Agatha Tiegel became the first woman to receive a bachelor of arts degree.

In 1894, the college program, known as the National Deaf-Mute College, was renamed Gallaudet College in honor of the father of the institution’s president, Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. He was one of the founders of the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut, the first school for the deaf in the United States.

U.S. President

Gallaudet President

Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland

1885-1889 & 1893-1897

Edward Miner Gallaudet

Edward Miner Gallaudet



Olof Hanson Diploma

Click to enlarge.

Olaf Hanson

Olof Hanson

Bachelor of Arts

June 23, 1886


Agatha Tiegel Diploma

Click to enlarge.

Agatha Tiegel

Agatha Mary Agnes Tiegel

Bachelor of Arts

June 21, 1893


John Kershner Diploma

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John Kershner

John Mutchler Kershner

Bachelor of Arts

June 20, 1894

Gallery of Diplomas Collection

In 1864, Congress passed a bill authorizing the institution, known as the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, to establish the National College for the Deaf and Dumb which would provide college-level instruction and confer college degrees. On...

National Deaf Life Museum

Resource Type: History

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National Deaf Life Museum

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(202) 250-2235

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