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Hurwitz Addresses Campus Community

Gallaudet is on the threshold of a new era filled with the promise of a dynamic and progressive future, Dr. Alan Hurwitz said in a January 21 State of the University address in Elstad Auditorium, his first campus-wide presentation as president.

The campus community turned out in large numbers to greet the University’s tenth president, who proclaimed that 2010 represents “a new feeling of moving forward, a new feeling of excitement, a new feeling of change. That is the Gallaudet we envision.” He said that realizing this vision requires both the commitment of the campus community and fostering open communication in an atmosphere that welcomes the free expression of diverse opinions.

The gathering provided a venue for Hurwitz to introduce the 11 members of his President’s Cabinet. He reminded the community that the cabinet is not his only source of advice on important matters that affect the University. “Please understand, we will work for the most inclusive of environments possible,” he said, adding that “Each of you can become an advisor.” Hurwitz said he encourages a “free flow of ideas” on campus, and he made it clear that he is accessible to everyone. He invited the audience members to email him or stop him on his walks across campus to share their views. He said that in the coming weeks he will solicit ideas and concerns through meetings with students, faculty, and staff, governance groups, and by forming a University Council with representation from all campus constituencies. In addition, he and his wife, Vicki, will open House One as an informal venue for discussion.

Hurwitz emphasized the importance of Gallaudet’s mission and strategic plan. The University’s goal to be a bilingual, diverse, and multicultural institution of higher learning “is part of the heart of our environment,” he said. These are not attributes that are “achieved” with one activity, he added, but rather are ongoing pursuits, “…a mindset that each of us must develop in our daily lives on campus,” he said.
Student success, said Hurwitz “will be our beacon.” He said the academic achievement of Gallaudet’s students will help the University become a “fertile ground” where students can develop skills in leadership and advocacy, innovation and creativity; an influential center that will be at the forefront of education for deaf and hard of hearing children nationally and globally; a partner with colleges and universities in Washington, D.C. and beyond; and a “strong and viable contributor to life” in the metropolitan area.

Hurwitz closed his address by sharing “my growing love for Gallaudet.” He said that those who are fortunate enough to be a part of the University bear the gifts-and the responsibilities-born of rich heritage, history, and legacy. “Past generations have so thoughtfully provided so much to us. We must do the same for future generations,” he said.

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