3 Remarkable Colleges for the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired

colleges for deaf

The first ever American school for the deaf came about in the early 19th century when a Yale University graduate by the name of Thomas Hopkins Galladuet, who had studied to be a clergyman, met a young girl who had a hearing impairment.

She was deaf, due to an illness acquired in childhood.

Knowing about at least 80 other deaf children in their community (and around a hundred in the country), Galladuet and several other people made a plan to establish a school for the deaf and those with hearing impairments.

Since deaf education was not prominent yet, Galladuet went to Europe where he was able to persuade Laurent Clerc from a Parisian school for the hearing-impaired.

With some help, they were able to open their school on April 15, 1817 and named it, the “Connecticut Asylum (at Hartford) for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons”.

The school only had 7 students in the beginning. Galladuet became the principal until 1830.

But Galladuet’s story doesn’t end there. It continues a few years after in the form of a university for the deaf.

Galladuet University

Gallaudet University

photo source: wikimedia.org

Galladuet is located in Washington DC, and was founded in 1856 when Amos Kendall, a postmaster general gave his estate to be used as a school. He wanted it to be for 12 deaf and 6 blind students, and was originally named the “Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind”.

The first principal for this school was Edward Miner Galladuet, son of the founder of the first US school for students with problems in hearing.

The techniques he learned from his father, he applied to the new school, where he taught sign languages (which Thomas Galladuet had gotten from the French school).

It was only in 1864 that then President Abram Lincoln signed a bill that would allow the college to give degrees to its students. Galladuet was still the president of the institution when their 8 students graduated, with their diplomas signed by then President Ulysses S. Grant.

Until this day, the tradition remains that all graduates from Galladuet have their diplomas signed by the current president of the United States.

In 1954, the entire institution came to be called Galladuet College in honor of Thomas Galladuet, and it soon became Galladuet University in 1986. The school officially uses both sign languages and English as mediums of instruction.

US News and World Report ranks Galladuet University No. 1 as a Best Value School in the north, and has around 1,031 undergraduate students enrolled.

The school has many programs to pursue, from traditional ones like business management to specialized ones like American Sign Language, recreation, sports, programming, and deaf studies, among others.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

photo courtesy rit.edu

The NTID is one of the colleges under the Rochester Institute of Technology. It’s also the largest tech college for the deaf and those who are hard-of-hearing.

This school was established under RIT in 1965, around the time that RIT was planning to move to a new site. On the board of trustees was Edmund Lyon, who had ties to the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Rochester School for the Deaf.

In 1968, the institute formally opened, with a rocky start. Since NTID was a mix of smainstream academic and deaf education programs, many of the students and teachers from both NTID and parent college RIT were involved in arguments about teaching salary, using ASL or English.

There were also conflicted between the deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Originally, NTID was for only 600 students every year, and was supposed to be tuition-free, but the enrollment spiked, with many students going to college in the 1960s.

Fees were added, and new programs were included to cater to students who wanted to pursue baccalaureate degrees.

Presently, NTID has a little more than 1,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates. Although it’s no longer tuition-free, these students receive financial help allowing them to only pay less than 50% of the tuition fee.

Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf

Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf

photo by howardcollege.edu

The SWCID is part of Texas community college, Howard County Junior College located in Big Springs.

The Howard College was founded in 1945, with only 148 students on its first academic year in 1946.

It started off as a very small school in hospital wing of a former army school. It became an official college in 1974 when it changed its name to Howard College.

Six years later, August 1980, Howard College opened to the public a new school, the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf.

The first director of SWCID, Dr. Douglas JN Burke, wanted to attract students who were not yet prepared for the NTID or the Galladuet University.

He wanted SWCID to prepare these students.

Prior to the founding of the college, there were no post-secondary programs for the deaf, and the Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas, was unused, even if it still had some useful facilities.

But the new college for the deaf needed to be sponsored by another college. That’s when Howard College stepped in. The SWCID became a self-contained, state-funded institution within HC.

SWCID currently has less than 200 students, and has an in-state tuition fee of a little more than $3,000.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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