800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002-3695
Founded by an Act of Congress in 1864, Gallaudet University is the only university in the world in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. It is also the base for a number of related research centers and Gallaudet University Press, the largest publisher of books related to deafness.
Gallaudet offers more than thirty majors to undergraduate students, leading to a bachelor's degree. Students also have the option of designing their own major, which involves selecting classes from Gallaudet's departments and those at the eleven other colleges participating in the Consortium of Universities. Historically undergraduate enrollment has only been open to individuals with a diagnosed hearing loss, but recently a pilot program was instituted to admit a small number of hearing undergraduates. The university's graduate programs are open to anyone, and may result in a master's degree, specialist degree, certification, or a doctorate. Other programs on the campus, known as Kendall Green, are the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. Programs not based on Kendall Green are offered online and at five regional centers around the country.
Since its inception, Gallaudet has endorsed visual communication among all members of the community. Classes are taught in ASL, but the administration also recognizes that English must be used at times and released a communication statement in early 1995. A number of special interest organizations exist on-campus, including religious and ethnic associations, four fraternities, and three sororities. The Buff and Blue is Gallaudet's weekly student newspaper, its name taken from the school colors, which are frequently seen at athletic events - the school mascot is the bison.
The university is named for Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who is considered the pioneer of deaf education in America for having founded the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut in 1817 with Laurent Clerc. The university itself first began in 1856, when wealthy Washingtonian Amos Kendall was approached by someone soliciting donations to found a school for local deaf and blind children. Kendall donated two acres of his Kendall Green estate in northeast Washington, D.C. for housing and the school, which opened with twelve deaf and six blind students. He then persuaded Congress to incorporate what was then called the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, and hired Edward Miner Gallaudet (son of Thomas) as the school's first superintendent. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the bill authorizing the Columbia Institution to confer college degrees, and eight students enrolled in the new National College for the Deaf and Dumb. Women were first admitted to the college on an experimental basis in 1887, and the following year their admission became permanent. In 1893, the alumni association successfully petitioned to have the name of the institute changed to Gallaudet College in honor of Thomas Gallaudet, but the corporate name did not change until an act of Congress in 1954. The school finally became Gallaudet University in 1986 following the passage of the Education of the Deaf Act. The university gained international renown in 1988 as a result of the Deaf President Now movement, and in 1989 the campus hosted more than 5,000 visitors from 80 countries at the Deaf Way Conference and Festival.
The football huddle originated at Gallaudet, when the team realized their opponents were reading their signed messages and then intercepting their plays.
Official website: http://www.gallaudet.edu/
Historical information: http://pr.gallaudet.edu/VisitorsCenter/GallaudetHistory/index.html
There is a lot more I could have gone into here. Watch for related nodes, including Deaf Way and MSSD coming soon.