Gallaudet University president to receive honorary degree

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and a role model for deaf and hard of hearing citizens, will receive an honorary doctorate May 10 and be recognized at California State University, Fresno’s 102nd Commencement on May 18.

President John D. Welty will confer the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters on Hurwitz upon the authority of the CSU Board of Trustees, recognizing his achievements, leadership and contributions on a national scale. Joining Welty will be Dr. Peter Mehas and Hugo Morales members of the CSU Board of Trustees.

The award will be made during the College of Health and Human Services Honors Convocation at 1 p.m. on May 10 in North Gym 118.

Also recognized will be the Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist, Graduate Dean’s Medalist and Faculty Achievement Award recipients.

Hurwitz became the 10th president of Gallaudet University on January 1, 2010, and has the distinction of being the first ‘born deaf’ president in Gallaudet’s history. Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English.

“As a role model, Alan Hurwitz has had a great impact locally on the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing people in our community,” said Welty. “Not only has he visited our region and our campus, he has made a lasting impression on the hundreds of our neighbors who were filled with the hope and inspiration that he provides.

“For our students and faculty, he has offered a clear path to academic success and spent countless hours interacting with not only the community at large, but our students, staff and faculty, during his visits. He is recognized as one of the pinnacles of leadership in the world of deaf education,” Welty said.

Hurwitz thanked Fresno State and the CSU Board of Trustees for the honor, and noted that “Fresno State has robust academic offerings in the fields of deaf education and deaf services for students who want to work with the deaf and hard of hearing community. I look forward to visiting the campus and attending convocation in May.”

Hurwitz became the 10th president of Gallaudet University on Jan. 1, 2010. During his tenure, he has overseen the ongoing establishment of four pre-graduate programs including law, medicine, architecture and business; the opening of a world-class neuroimaging research laboratory; and new relationships forged internationally and nationally in Beijing, Panama and the U.S. federal government.

Hurwitz recently received the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II Chief Executive Leadership Award and the Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering Alumni Achievement Award.

Prior to Gallaudet, Hurwitz was president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of eight colleges within the Rochester Institute of Technology. Hurwitz began his career in the engineering field.

Throughout his career, Hurwitz has been involved with many professional and deafness-related organizations. Hurwitz is currently chair of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Presidents’ Council, the first deaf person to hold this position in NEAC history. He is a past president of the National Association of the Deaf as well as the World Organization of Jewish Deaf.

Hurwitz is widely published and he lectures extensively throughout the world on topics such as education, rights for people with disabilities, deaf culture and American Sign Language.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, a master of science degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University and a doctor of Education in curriculum and teaching from the University of Rochester.

Kathleen Schock

written by

Director of Media and Development Communications, University Communications
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