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September 1, 2005

RELEASE: First deaf president of Gallaudet University, Dr. I. King Jordan, announces plans to retire

From: Gallaudet - Sept 1, 2005


For more information, contact:
Mercy Coogan, Director of Public Relations, Gallaudet University
Phone: (202) 651-5727
TTY: (202) 651-5727
Cell: (202) 299-6117
Fax: (202) 651-5704
Email: Mercy.Coogan@Gallaudet.Edu

First deaf president of Gallaudet University, Dr. I. King Jordan, announces plans to retire

Washington, DC – September 1, 2005 - Gallaudet University President, Dr. I. King Jordan, whose selection as the nation's first deaf university president in 1988 propelled him into the international spotlight as a role model for what deaf people can achieve, has announced that he would retire on December 31, 2006.

Dr. Glenn B. Anderson, chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, announced President Jordan's decision at an afternoon press conference saying, "King Jordan is an extraordinary man who was the 'right person at the right time' to lead Gallaudet University" and that his tenure will be remembered for "his outstanding accomplishments both as a Chief Executive and as a role model."

"By all traditional measures of a University presidency, Dr. Jordan excelled – he increased our endowment from $5 million to $150 million; he added new facilities and strengthened academic programs; he grew the operating budget and University offerings without incurring debt; he recruited outstanding administrators and faculty members; increased the size and quality of the student body; and set the strategic vision for the future."

"The unusual, public way in which he was appointed president, however, created a responsibility for Dr. Jordan that most college presidents do not have – that of international role model and spokesperson for the deaf community and for the disability community. And in those roles, Dr. Jordan has helped change for the better the lives of millions of Americans and kept an international spotlight on Gallaudet."

Dr. Anderson announced that a national search will soon be underway to select Dr. Jordan's successor. Dr. Jordan said that he is "very proud of what has been accomplished since 1988" and that he has had "the good fortune to be president during a period of growth and prosperity at Gallaudet and during a new era of recognition for the rights and abilities of people who are deaf or hard of hearing."

Dr. Jordan thanked his wife of 36 years, Linda Kephart Jordan, for serving as First Lady of the University and for the countless hours she has contributed to his and the University's success. He then assured the community that he believes that "Gallaudet is well positioned to become even stronger in the future" and he "hopes to contribute to the Gallaudet family for many years to come." Dr. Jordan will continue to lead the University until December 31, 2006.

I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. That year, Gallaudet students, with support from many alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the University, protested the Board of Trustees' appointment of a hearing person to the presidency. Called Deaf President Now (DPN), the week-long protest was a watershed event in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people all over the world. At its conclusion, the Board reversed its decision and named I. King Jordan, one of the three finalists for the position, the eighth president of Gallaudet and the first deaf president since the institution was established in 1864.

There are a number of notable campus accomplishments during his presidency. Dr. Jordan led the University's first ever capital campaign, raising nearly $40 million which supported the construction of the state-of-the-art Student Academic Center and contributed to the extraordinary increase in the University's endowment. His tenure saw a significant increase in endowed scholarship funds and the initiation of many key academic programs. The national high school academic bowl competition has led to widespread recognition of the importance of academics and college attendance among deaf adolescents. Academically, Gallaudet is a stronger university than it was in 1987 with an increasing number of highly qualified and high-achieving deaf students arriving on campus. Dr. Jordan's President's Fellows program provides support for deaf college graduates to complete their terminal degrees and become faculty members, and there are many more deaf Ph.D.'s on the faculty than prior to Dr. Jordan's arrival on campus.

Another proud accomplishment of Dr. Jordan's is the work he did to assist with the passage of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. He was a lead witness in support of the ADA during a joint session of Congress and delivered significant testimony in Congress and across the country during the deliberations of this bill. Dr. Jordan believes that the law has played a large role in raising the expectations of the deaf community, and particularly Gallaudet students. "I see progress everyday when I speak with young deaf people. They discuss their plans to become lawyers, or scientists, or accountants, or professors and they in fact succeed in these and many other professions. I assure you that we will continue to work hard to keep the promise of the ADA alive."

A native of Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, a small town near Philadelphia, Dr. Jordan earned a B.A. in psychology from Gallaudet University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Psychology from the University of Tennessee.

Upon receiving his doctorate, Dr. Jordan joined the faculty of Gallaudet's Department of Psychology. Before his appointment as President, Dr. Jordan served as Chair of Gallaudet's Psychology Department and as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has been a research fellow at Donaldson's School for the Deaf in Edinburgh Scotland and an exchange scholar at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

Dr. Jordan holds eleven honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, among them: the Presidential Citizen's Medal, presented by Bill Clinton in 2001; the Washingtonian of the Year Award; the James L. Fisher Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); the Larry Stewart Award from the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association for Community Leadership. President George H. W. Bush appointed Dr. Jordan Vice Chair of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (PCEPD) in 1990, and President Clinton reappointed Dr. Jordan to that role in 1993. In the summer of 2005, Dr. Jordan was presented the George Bush Medal for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities from President George H. W. Bush.

Upon his retirement, Dr. Jordan plans to travel with Linda, spend more time with his family, continue to run ultra marathons, teach scuba diving, and continue to be a voice for deaf empowerment and achievement at Gallaudet University and across the country.


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.