The Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center announced on October 12 the passing of Dr. Betty J. “BJ” Schuchman on October 1. BJ, along with her husband, Dr. John S. (Stan) Schuchman, had a major impact on Gallaudet University and the field of Deaf history. They founded the Deaf Documentary Center named in their honor. They endowed a Deaf History Award that recognizes excellence in documenting the lives of deaf people. In every way possible, they promoted awareness of Deaf contributions, struggles, and tenacity. We are inspired every day by the gift given to Gallaudet and the mandate from Stan and BJ to carry on their important work. 

Said Brian H. Greenwald, professor of history and director of the Deaf Documentary Center, “BJ Schuchman will long be remembered for her contributions to Gallaudet and the wider Deaf community. She had a strong interest in the stories of people who have often been marginalized in documented history, particularly Deaf women. Student-focused, BJ took great joy in learning about the work of student interns in the Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center. She cheered on students working on interviews, timelines, and public events. During the pandemic, she was heartened by an online public discussion about the ways COVID impacted Deaf New Yorkers. Last fall, she was overjoyed to learn about the Deaf Printers online exhibition. BJ truly cared, and we felt it every day.”

Drs. Betty J. “BJ” and John S. Schuchman

Roberta J. Cordano, President of Gallaudet University, said, “Through creating and endowing the Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center, BJ and Stan Schuchman helped Gallaudet build one of its most powerful innovations in recent years. Their investment has created a model humanities-based research center that supports student and faculty collaboration that focuses on history and culture, teaches 21st-century skills, researches and documents the lives of deaf people, and shares films, exhibitions, and programs with the campus. This center is gaining traction in ways that they could not have imagined when they first shared their dreams with us. We are grateful for their commitment and vision – they leave a remarkable legacy for all of us.”

BJ and Stan’s nieces, Carla Kay Barlow and Deborah Barlow, and nephew, Jeff Barlow, would like to share this statement with the Gallaudet community: “BJ did a great job of living a life: She experienced achievement, adventure, and – best of all – profound love. Like Stan, she touched thousands of lives as an educator. Together, BJ and Stan were committed to educating others because education transformed both of their own lives. When the Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center was established and for years afterward, BJ consistently asked, ‘Where are the women? What about the women?’ We couldn’t be more proud of her and her legacy, and we thank our friends at Gallaudet for keeping her memory alive.”

The Barlow family encourages donations to the Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center.

Cards are welcome and may be sent to Carla Kay Barlow, 740 Leafydale Terrace, Pikesville. MD 21208-4612.

Please join us as we honor BJ Schuchman’s zeal for lifelong learning and her commitment to making a difference in the lives of Deaf people at Gallaudet and beyond.

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