IM this article to a friend!

October 23, 2003

Gallaudet to Award Honorary Degrees

From: Gallaudet - Oct 23, 2003

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2003

Contact: Mike Kaika, Director of Media Relations
Phone 202-651-5050

Gallaudet to Award Honorary Degrees to Marilyn Smith and Mary Herring Wright;
Professor Emeriti to Achtzehn, Goodstein, and Weller

Washington, DC—Gallaudet University Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its recent meeting to award an Honorary Doctorate Degree to Marilyn J. Smith, founder and executive director of Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS). The Board also voted to award a Special Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree to Mary Herring Wright, author of “Sounds Like Home: Growing up Black and Deaf in the South.”

Smith, a Seattle native who graduated from Gallaudet in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree and in 1977 with a master’s degree, founded ADWAS in 1986 in the basement of her home. The organization has since grown to a staff of 15 people and provides support services, shelters, and referral services for victims of domestic violence and their families. ADWAS was the first Deaf-managed and fully accessible domestic violence and sexual assault organization in the United States until 2000. Smith has been a strong role model for all Deaf women, including young women and regularly visits schools and colleges to meet with students.

Wright, who lost her hearing around the age of 12, grew up in rural North Carolina. Her book is thoughtful and informative and presents a unique glimpse of deaf life in the 1930s and 1940s, an era about which so little has been written. Wright had hoped to attend college but because of her race, was not allowed to do so. After she graduated from a residential school, she returned to the school to teach deaf children. Eventually she married and raised four children. Wright still lives in North Carolina and continues write. In recognizing her contributions to Deaf history, culture, and scholarship, the Gallaudet Board of Trustees voted to grant Mrs. Wright a Special Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree.

The Board of Trustees also voted to grant Professor Emeriti status to Dr. James C. Achtzehn, Jr., Dr. Harvey Goodstein, and Dr. Rosemary Weller. Achtzehn taught in the Department of Education since 1973. Goodstein was on the faculty since 1970 and, most recently, served as chairperson of the Deaf Way II Conference. Weller retired last spring after 41 years as a faculty member.

Gallaudet will present these awards at its 135 commencement exercises on May 14, 2004.

# # #