The Board of Trustees has selected a female president two times and each time the campus community has rebelled. This panel will discuss this in terms of gender and history and the role of women in the DPN movement.

Watch it online.

Photo gallery

Tuesday, March 26

12:30 – 1:50 p.m.

Foster Auditorium


Octavian Robinson

Octavian Robinson

Jackie Roth

Jackie Roth

Jane Norman

Jane Norman

Mary Keane

Mary Keane


Vicki Hurwitz

Jane Norman

Jane Norman is the director and curator of the Gallaudet University Museum, which is currently developing an exhibition of the 150th Anniversary of Gallaudet University. She brings a wealth of experience from the media field as a professor, television producer/director, public relations, international film judge, and media consultant.

In 1985, Dr. Norman was contracted by the University’s television department to re-design the pilot, Images into the Emmy-award winning Deaf Mosaic, a PBS and Discovery Channel television magazine-format series, which, aired nationally for ten years. She had previously won Emmy awards for San Francisco KRON-TV 4 television programs.

Dr. Norman created the concept of the Festival unit for the 1989 DEAFWAY and served as its producer/director. For the 2002 DEAFWAY II she coordinated the University’s first film festival. In 2010 she was the producer/director of the University’s WORLDEAF Cinema Festival.

Dr. Norman joined the Communication Studies Department in the fall of 2002 after serving as faculty and chair of the Television, Photography and Digital Media department at Gallaudet University. She also had previously served as faculty in the Theatre Arts department at Gallaudet. During Deaf President Now (DPN) she served as the Public Relations Director on the DPN Council.

She received her B.A. from Gallaudet University, M.A. from New York University and Ph.D. from Howard University. She is a former printer and the daughter of deaf parents who were also printers. Dr. Norman has been commuting between Alexandria, VA and Gallaudet for 34 years.

Octavian Robinson

Octavian, a native of San Diego, California, is a Gallaudet product. He earned his B.A. in history and M.A. in Deaf Studies with a concentration in deaf history from Gallaudet University. He currently holds a Ph.D in history from The Ohio State University. His area of specialization is the expansion of citizenship in the United States with a focus on the experiences of deaf people, women, and African-Americans. He is currently working on a book about deaf people’s efforts to gain access to citizenship during the early 20th century through anti-peddling activity.

Jackie Roth

Eclectic career involving entertainment, education, training, advocacy, law, recruitment, public relations, and now Real Estate (7.5 years, as Vice-President of EcoBroker Certified).

First job was at Gallaudet – started up the Recruitment program (first full-time professional recruiter ever) under the leadership of Jerald Jordan. Created the first ever video of Gallaudet for PR purposes.

Professional Actor (stage and television)-member of all Actors’ unions. Consulted with major studio networks on accurate portrayal of deaf characters. PR for DPN, 1988-with 4 students (then). PR for Lexington School when they ousted their “hearing leader” for new Deaf Board Member to lead (this was never made public). Played the Lead (Sarah Norman) in national tour of Children of a Lesser God and in regional theaters. Produced academy award nominated documentary, SOUND AND FURY.

Artistic Director, directed children theater. Started up the first recovery home for deaf people in LA. President of numerous national boards including Deaf Women United (built membership from 5 people to 400 during my tenure). Worked on numerous committees involving civil rights (very active in passage and follow up of 1973 Rehab Act, then ADA).

Involved with the first major publication on Deaf culture in mainstreamed press (NY Times Magazine, 1993—Deaf is Beautiful, written by Andrew Solomon). Featured in Andrew Solomon’s current book, FAR FROM THE TREE.

Here’s the link to website: Currently working on video vlogs on real estate and working with a partner on some new video projects to be released in 2013.

Mary Keane

Dr. Mary Keane graduated from Gallaudet in 1985 with a BA in Government. While at Gallaudet, she completed an internship with Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office. Following Gallaudet, she held three jobs, in which one was a dorm counselor at the Boston School for the Deaf and became active with the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf.

Dr. Keane earned her master’s degree in Deaf Rehabilitation from New York University in 1987. In the Fall of 1987, she returned to Gallaudet University working at the Experimental Programs Off Campus Office (EPOC), as an Intake Coordinator (which is now part of the Career Center). Dr. Keane worked at EPOC for almost four years, and then moved on to work as Coordinator of Residence Education for 10 years. Following this, she joined Campus Activities, and began her stint as Coordinator. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education Administration in 2012. Her dissertation is entitled Crisis Management In Higher Education: Commonalities, Attributes, and Perceived Effectiveness.

Dr. Keane is currently Director of Campus Activities at Gallaudet University.

Vicki T. Hurwitz

Vicki T. Hurwitz is the First Lady of Gallaudet University. She served as Director of Outreach Center at the Rochester School for the Deaf and Student Development Coordinator with the Student Life Team at NTID/RIT. She developed and taught a deaf women’s studies course for NTID students, the first of its kind in the nation. She cofounded the Deaf Women of Rochester, the first local deaf women’s organization, and was vice-president of Deaf Women United; and cofounded Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims and served as its Executive Director, and then president. She received her B.S. in Social Work and M.S. in Career and Human Resource Development from RIT.


In 1856, Amos Kendall, a postmaster general during two presidential administrations, donated two acres of his estate in northeast Washington, D.C. to establish a school and housing for 12 deaf and six blind students. The following year, Kendall persuaded Congress to incorporate the new school,...

National Deaf Life Museum

Resource Type: History

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