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August 21, 2007

Press Release: Benjamin Soukup Elected Chair of Gallaudet Board of Trustees

From: CSD - Aug 21, 2007


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Benjamin Soukup Elected Gallaudet Board Chair
National advocate to lead trustees through change

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 21, 2007) — Benjamin Soukup, chief executive officer of CSD and a trustee since 2001, has become the chair of Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, replacing Pamela Holmes. Soukup’s term began July 1. Elected after serving as vice chair of the committee on student affair, as well as other committees, Soukup brings a student-centric philosophy to the board.

Soukup has spent more than thirty years as a human rights advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people across the country. As founder and CEO of CSD, he has built a reputation as an entrepreneur, humanitarian, lobbyist and political activist. As a former President of the National Association of the Deaf and delegate to the World Federation of the Deaf, Soukup met with world leaders, presidents and members of congress to improve public accessibility and to increase public awareness of issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide.

Soukup said his priority as chair of the Gallaudet board is to support the students and President Davila as he carries out his Transformation Plan. Some issues that Soukup plans to focus on are diversity, shared governance, trustee training, recruitment and retention. He said that Gallaudet is a university with a global impact and that the trustees will continue to focus on moving forward during a time of rapid change.

“At this time in Gallaudet University’s history, our biggest challenges are resolving the accreditation issue and beginning the next presidential search,” said Soukup. “Gallaudet is a world-renowned institution and a bastion of higher learning for all deaf and hard of hearing students. As the new chair, I look forward to putting the recent struggles at Gallaudet behind us and to rebuilding the foundation that has driven Gallaudet’s success since 1864.”

Pamela Holmes, who Soukup is replacing, announced June 19 that she was stepping down as a trustee because of work obligations. Holmes said she was “pleased and confident to pass off the baton” to Soukup, who she called “not only a leader within the Board of Trustees but a renowned leader in the deaf community. He is committed to providing the leadership and knowledge Gallaudet needs as we move forward.” Trustee Frank Wu will continue as vice chair.

In recognition of his lifetime achievements, Ben received an honorary doctorate degree from Gallaudet University in 2000. One of Soukup’s children is a ’00 Gallaudet graduate and another is a current student.

Gallaudet University, established in 1864, is the world’s only university for deaf and hard of hearing students. Gallaudet offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. Gallaudet also serves the national and international deaf and hearing communities by providing them with information and conducting research on deafness. Visit the website: