IM this article to a friend!

December 20, 2003

Determined Woman Becomes CSUS's First Deaf-Blind Graduate

From: KXTV, CA - Dec 20, 2003

Imagine working your way through college without being able to hear your instructor or read the words in a textbook. Those are some of the challenges Lenore Presley faced throughout her college career. Now she is the first deaf-blind graduate of CSU Sacramento.

Presley could not see the crowd at Arco Arena, nor hear the applause for her at her commencement ceremony, but that does not mean she is unaware of it.

Presley communicates through two translators. One verbally translates her sign language. Another uses tactile signing to translate language and information back to Presley. Over the course of 11 years, that is the way Presley worked her way to a bachelor's degree in social work.

"She is an inspiration. See, for future students who say, 'This is hard.' I'll say, 'You don't know what hard is,'" said Professor John Davis of the CSUS School of Social Work.

Presley admits adapting to the academic demands of college wasn't always easy. She had to depend on interpreters every step of the way. But when asked if she ever thought of quitting, she flashes a smile that lets you know that wasn't an option.

"I'm pretty tolerant and persistent, and I'm going to overcome all of those frustration and barriers that are there," said Presley.

Presley hopes to pursue a career as a vocational counselor for other people who are deaf-blind.

© 2003 Gannett Co., Inc.