IM this article to a friend!

November 5, 2004

Gallaudet University Receives $5 Million from Sorenson Media and Sorenson Legacy; Foundation to Fund Unique Language and Communication Center

From: Business Wire (press release), CA - Nov 5, 2004

WASHINGTON & SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 5, 2004--Gallaudet University announced yesterday that Sorenson Media(R) and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation have donated $5 million to the University. The gift, which is the second-largest private donation in the school's history, will be used to create the James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center.

The Center will be an academic teaching and research facility devoted to deaf people's language, culture, history, and community. "We are grateful for this extremely generous contribution," said Dr. I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University. "The Sorensons' gift enables the creation of a unique learning environment where students can acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a constantly changing world and to strengthen and preserve their identities as deaf people."

The creation of the Sorenson Language and Communication Center represents a significant step forward in the University and Sorenson Media relationship, which began in April 2003 when the two organizations partnered to establish a video relay service. Sorenson Video Relay Service(R) (VRS) combined Sorenson Media technology and equipment with the expertise of certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to allow deaf and hard-of-hearing users to place video relay calls to friends, family members, and business associates.

"I am delighted by the opportunity this Center will provide to extend the partnership between Sorenson Media and Gallaudet University," said James Lee Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Media. "We will continue to work together to aggressively develop and utilize technology that enhances communication and learning." A prominent entrepreneur, business leader and philanthropist, James Lee Sorenson has led Sorenson Media's ascent to global technology leadership in video services, video compression, and video communication over the Internet.

"I am honored to join with my son James Lee in contributing to a project that can improve the quality of life for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing," said James LeVoy Sorenson, chairman of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. "This is something we are proud to put our name and resources behind." A pioneer in the medical devices and biotechnology arenas, James LeVoy Sorenson is known foremost for inventing the first cardio-vascular pressure monitoring system to monitor the human heart in real-time. James LeVoy Sorenson's many other groundbreaking healthcare innovations include the first disposable venous catheter, the first disposable surgical mask, and the first blood recycling system.

The Sorenson Language and Communication Center will foster collaborative research across multiple disciplines. The University intends to house the following departments and programs in the new facility:

-- American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies
-- Communication Studies
-- Center for the Evaluation of American Sign Language Skills
-- Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences
-- History and Government
-- Linguistics
-- Sociology
-- University Archives and the Deaf Collection
-- History Through Deaf Eyes National Exhibit

Students in the Center's departments will be able to pursue bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. In addition, the University plans to disseminate its knowledge to the larger community by publishing the results of its research and through national outreach programs.

Gallaudet University launched its $20 million campaign to construct the Language and Communication Center in January 2004. The building planning committee, which includes a broad base of academic, administrative, and student input under the direction of Provost Dr. Jane Fernandes, is currently developing specifications to ensure that the architects design a visually accessible facility that conforms to the communication needs and desires of the campus' deaf community. "When it is finished, this will be an extraordinary facility -- something that could happen only at Gallaudet University," said Jordan.

About Sorenson Media

Sorenson Media ( and is the recognized technology leader in video services, video compression, and video communication to improve the quality of communication over the Internet. The company's products and services include the industry's highest-quality video relay service, award-winning video compression solutions, and the market-leading broadband Internet videophone technology.

About Sorenson Legacy Foundation

The Sorenson Legacy Foundation is a non-profit corporation established by the James LeVoy Sorenson family for the exclusive purpose of promoting charitable, religious, educational, literary, and scientific endeavors. The Foundation is qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

About Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students. The University enjoys an international reputation for the outstanding graduate programs it provides deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students, as well as for the quality of the research it conducts on the history, language, culture, and other topics related to deaf people. In addition, the University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center serves deaf and hard-of-hearing children at its two demonstration schools and throughout the nation by developing, implementing, and disseminating innovative educational strategies. Gallaudet is located in Washington, DC.


Sorenson Media and Sorenson Legacy Foundation
David Parkinson, 801-287-9472
801-971-2450 (cell)
Gallaudet University
Darrick Nicholas, 202-448-7136
202-361-4300 (cell)

© Business Wire 2004