Gallaudet University

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Gallaudet University was the first school for the advanced education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing. It is still the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The university was named after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a notable figure in the advancement of deaf education.

It was established in Washington, DC as the National Deaf Mute College on February 16, 1857. An Act of Congress recognized the University in 1864 and its charter was then signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The campus was designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Students at Gallaudet University are required to have abilities in American Sign Language, English, and foreign languages.


Student strikes at Gallaudet University starting March 9, 1988 revolutionized the perception and education of Deaf culture. Deaf students were outraged at the selection of another hearing president, Elisabeth Zinser, after a long line of university presidents who were hearing. Calling it patronizing, marginalizing, and inappropriate for such an essential part of the Deaf community, they demanded a Deaf president for the university. After less than a week of activism the president-elect, who had also been criticized for inappropriate statements about the functionality of deaf people, resigned and was replaced by a deaf president, I. King Jordan. These strikes became known as a movement called Deaf President Now (DPN).


Gallaudet athletes and teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) in the disciplines of baseball, basketball, cross country, football, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

The huddle commonly seen in American football was invented by Gallaudet players. After discovering that opposing teams were reading the deaf players' sign language and adjusting for the next play, Gallaudet players began to sign in a circle, a formation that is seen at nearly every level of American football.


The Gallaudet Research Institute (GRI) conducts deafness-related research concerning the demographic and academic characteristics of deaf and hard of hearing populations, primarily to provide information needed by educators in the field.

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