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November 7, 2003

NTID appoints Hurwitz as chief

From: Democrat and Chronicle, NY - Nov 7, 2003

Search ends with school's own dean to succeed Davila on Dec. 1.

By Greg Livadas Staff Writer

(November 7, 2003) — After a seven-month national search from a pool of more than 20 candidates, the next head of Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf won’t have far to go to find his new office.

T. Alan Hurwitz, the current dean, who joined NTID two years after the college’s inception in 1968, was named Thursday afternoon as vice president for RIT and CEO/dean of NTID. He will succeed Robert Davila, who is retiring, beginning Dec. 1.

“I thank you for your support and vote of confidence,” Hurwitz told faculty members, students and the 16-member search committee.

Born deaf in Sioux City, Iowa, Hurwitz graduated from Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis in 1956. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and a doctorate in education from the University of Rochester in 1980.

Hurwitz, 61, of Pittsford, worked as an electronics engineer at McDonnell Douglas Corp. prior to coming to NTID as a teacher, counselor and eventually dean. He also served as president of the National Association of the Deaf from 1982 to 1984.

RIT President Albert J. Simone, who ultimately selected Hurwitz, said there were four talented finalists — all of whom happened to be deaf — for the position. “We were looking for the best person possible,” he said, calling Hurwitz “a most genuine and sincere person, a hard worker and very passionate about NTID.”

Hurwitz said a priority will be keeping close contact with the industry to ensure students learn with the most up-to-date technology. “We need to make sure we are in a position to prepare students for a world of work.”

Nearly half of NTID’s 1,150 students are cross-registered in baccalaureate programs in other colleges at RIT.

Another issue is identifying potential students. About 80 percent of NTID students attended schools for the deaf in 1970, he said.

“Now, only 20 percent are in residential schools and perhaps up to 90 percent are mainstreamed. It’s a challenge to find them to provide information about NTID.”

Adam Stone, 22, a fourth-year communications student from Del Mar, Calif., said he and other students thought an outside candidate would have brought a fresh approach.

Still, he believes Hurwitz will be a good leader.

“He’s always been willing to talk with me and always very open. He has a good relationship with the students.”

Copyright 2003 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.