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May 1, 2006

Gallaudet University Names Dr. Jane K. Fernandes President

From: Dhhreport (WRAD) - May 1, 2006

CONTACT: Mercy Coogan
Office of Public Relations
Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University Names Dr. Jane K. Fernandes President
Current Provost Becomes University’s Second Deaf President

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Jane K. Fernandes, Gallaudet University Provost since 2000, was introduced today as Gallaudet’s 9th president. She will take office in January 2007. Celia May Baldwin, Interim Chair of the university’s Board of Trustees made the announcement at a campus convocation this afternoon after the full board elected Dr. Fernandes president over the weekend.

Fernandes will replace long-time Gallaudet president, Dr. I. King Jordan, who made history in 1988 becoming the first deaf person selected to lead a university when he was named Gallaudet’s 8th president. Dr. Jordan announced his retirement in the summer of 2005 after more than 18 years as president. Dr. Jordan will retain the title “President Emeritus” and will continue to assist the new president and the university.

“Gallaudet is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Jane Fernandes as our next president,” said Celia May Baldwin, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Jane has a deep understanding of how this university works, having served in senior leadership positions here for more than a decade. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for the Board to find anyone with greater breadth or depth of experience. The executive positions she has held at both the K-12 and University levels – and the notable accomplishments she has made in these positions - make her uniquely qualified to lead Gallaudet.

“Jane has proven her leadership skills time and time again, often having to make very difficult decisions, and we believe that this has prepared her well for the presidency. We are thrilled to have someone of her caliber succeed King Jordan and believe that she will be an outstanding president of Gallaudet”

As Provost, Dr. Fernandes is the chief academic officer of the University, responsible for all of the academic programs and academic support components at Gallaudet. The Academic Affairs division for which she is responsible has 670 faculty and staff and a budget of more than $83 million. She has been one of the key leaders in the development of the University’s vision and strategic plan, and recently co-authored “Towards an Inclusive Deaf University: Achieving Equitable Outcomes for All Students” which specifically addressed two of the key goals of the university’s plan.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Fernandes attended public schools. She is a graduate of Trinity College (Connecticut), earning a B.A. degree in French and comparative literature, and the University of Iowa, where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature. After graduating from Iowa, she worked for Northeastern University before coming to Gallaudet as Chair of the Department of Sign Communication. She later moved to Hawaii where she established the Interpreter Education Program at Kapi’olani Community College and served for five years as the director of the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind.

In 1995 she returned to Gallaudet to become the Vice President for the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center where she and her team developed innovative curriculum, materials, and teaching strategies for schools serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students throughout the nation. Last year, more than 450 schools had adopted the Clerc Center’s methods.

Dr. Fernandes has authored and co-authored numerous scholarly publications, and will soon be sending her new book, Signs of Eloquence: a Study of Deaf American Public Address (with James Fernandes) to press. She has been an invited speaker at conferences all over the country and will travel this May to Bangkok, Thailand where she will give the keynote address at the First World Congress on The Power of Language: Theory, Practice, and Performance.

“I am humbled and honored by the decision of the Board,” said Dr. Fernandes at the ceremony announcing her appointment. “I give you my word that I will make every decision and lead this university based on what is in the university’s best interest…I am grateful that the Board has entrusted me with this wonderful opportunity to serve this university that I love.”

Dr. Fernandes is married to Dr. James J. Fernandes, a former professor in Gallaudet’s Department of Communication Studies. They have two children, Sean (15) and Erin (13).

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 its outstanding graduate programs as well as for the quality of the research it conducts on the history, language, culture, and other topics related to deaf people. 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 where it was founded in 1864 by an act of Congress, and its charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.