Academics

President Abraham Lincoln signed our charter on April 8, 1864 – so next Monday, April 8, is our 160th birthday!  

President Cordano has researched and written extensively about Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. In 2018, in an article for Gallaudet Today Magazine, she wrote, “We [celebrate Charter Day] because the founding of Gallaudet University through this charter was truly a seminal moment in our world’s history. This new idea, radically innovative for its time, would provide deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people ‘a fair chance in the race of life,’ as Lincoln would say.”  

This article provides keen insight into the forward thinking and the broad vision of our 16th President. Even as the Civil War raged around him, he knew that deaf people were a national treasure. He knew that it was critical that they have educational, employment, and business opportunities. He knew that they needed to learn visually, relying on American sign language and English. One hundred sixty years later, Gallaudet stands true to President Lincoln’s vision. We thank him today and every day. 

The Gallaudet University Alumni Association and its Clerc Cultural Committee will hold their annual Charter Day awards reception on Saturday, April 6. Five people will be honored: 

This year’s GUAA award recipients are:  

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award: Jeremy S. Smith, ’16
Mr. Smith is being recognized for his powerful and effective advocacy on behalf of the DeafPlus community in Virginia and beyond  

Above and Beyond Award in Honor of Pauline “Polly” Peikoff, E-’36: Lisa McNiven, ’90
Ms. McNiven is a long-time Deaf community leader in the state of New Mexico and the leading force in the creation of Deaf housing in Albuquerque.  

Advocacy for Social Justice Award in Honor of Gertrude Scott Galloway, ’51, PhD ’93, and H-’02: Dr. Christian Vogler 
Dr. Vogler is a professor and director of the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University, and a long-time advocate for communications access for members of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing community.  

The Clerc Cultural Committee awards are as follows:  

Award in Art: Yiqiao Wang, ’09  
Ms. Wang, a creative designer in the Motion Light Lab at Gallaudet University, is renowned for her art in public spaces throughout the United States that touches on many themes, including multiculturalism and Asian-America Pacific Islander culture.  

Award in Advocacy: Dr. Michael A. Schwartz  
Dr. Schwartz is professor and director of the Disability Rights Clinic at Syracuse University College of Law, where he has trained generations of law students and young attorneys in disability advocacy. 

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