Areas of Study

Transcript of Gallaudet President Dr. Roberta J. Cordano’s 2017 announcement

Today I am delighted to share some wonderful news. Gallaudet University has received a major gift to support documentary work and study. Dr. John S. & Dr. Betty J. Schuchman — many of you lovingly know them as Stan and BJ – have generously established an endowed a fund supporting documentary education, production and presentation.

Stan Schuchman’s sign name is “S” on chin. That was originally the sign name his deaf parents gave him – for his middle name, “Stanley.” But when he arrived on campus in 1967 as a professor of History, it came to represent his last name, Schuchman, and is now used for the Schuchmans. He is a professor emeritus, a former vice president of academic affairs and provost, a researcher, and an internationally known historian.

Stan Schuchman devoted much of his working career to documenting deaf history. An important example is his research on how deaf characters are portrayed in film media which led to the 1988 book, Hollywood Speaks: Deafness in the Film Entertainment Industry.

Stan, with colleagues, planned an international conference co-hosted by Gallaudet and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. That conference was significant because it resulted in the documentation of personal stories of survival and a 2002 co-edited book that added to world knowledge about the Holocaust: Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe.

Throughout his research, Stan Schuchman has considered the documented stories of deaf people as key to any study, not just history but all disciplines. He conducted historically significant interviews with Holocaust survivors and paved the way for historians doing documentary work in sign languages – in his case, multiple languages.

Stan and BJ Schuchman believe in Gallaudet students, seeing them as critical the developing the next generation of documentarians. This is why they support the Center’s mission to educate students in the documentary arts, explore the lives of deaf people, and cultivate awareness of human diversity through shared fieldwork, stories and scholarship.

It is our great pleasure to announce that the Center for Deaf Documentary Studies will henceforth be known as the Drs. John S. & Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center. We cannot thank them enough for this enduring gift in support of Gallaudet and documentary studies.

They have shown great confidence in – and love for – Gallaudet University through their gift.

Thank you, Stan and BJ! We are grateful for your support of the University and the future of deaf documentary studies here at Gallaudet and around the world.

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