Washington, D.C., June 8, 2022 – Gallaudet University and Sorenson announced today a new strategic partnership that aims, through a series of progressive initiatives, to inspire and facilitate collaboration between people who are Deaf as well as the prospective government, education, and Fortune 500/1000 companies who engage them. The short- and long-term goals of this partnership support a universal understanding of Deaf culture and the unique, diverse insights and experiences Deaf and hard of hearing people add to organizations – and to the world.
The partnership begins with an endowment gift from Sorenson that will support the growth of the Center for Black Deaf Studies, founded and directed by the renowned Black Deaf scholar, Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill. The $3 million endowment will honor Kenneth Miller, a Black Deaf man who, as a child, attended a segregated school on the Gallaudet campus until his mother, Louise B. Miller, filed suit against the District of Columbia Board of Education to force integration of Black Deaf and White Deaf children. This case, unheralded at the time, today is widely considered to be a precursor to the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
This strategic partnership will feature an Accelerate Inclusive Excellence Symposium at Gallaudet on September 23, 2022, the International Day of Sign Languages. Gallaudet and Sorenson also will collaborate on additional strategic initiatives that will drive significant impact with a diversity focus, as well as job and career opportunities.
Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano praised Sorenson’s commitment to education, innovation, health care, and community, and commended Sorenson’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of people from every walk of life. “Sorenson Communications has long supported Gallaudet University, and we could not be more grateful. It is heartwarming for the entire Gallaudet community to experience first-hand that kindness and generosity prevail, and that we can all work together to make people and places better than we found them. We are especially pleased that Sorenson has chosen to support our Center for Black Deaf Studies, which, in just two years, has become a vibrant hub for education, research, and support for our Black Deaf students and the greater community.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Gallaudet. Sorenson’s focus on advancing human connection between Deaf and hearing people and our commitment to equal communication access, diversity, and inclusion aligns with the overall purpose of this partnership,” said Sorenson Chief Executive Officer Jorge Rodriguez. “Through collaborative discussions with key professionals and industry thought leaders, we intend to demonstrate how integrating these values is mutually beneficial for everyone – students, employees, customers, suppliers, philanthropic supporters, and partners. We are fully invested in training the Deaf leaders of tomorrow.”
Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill, Founding Director of the Center for Black Deaf Studies and professor of Deaf Studies, and Dr. Elizabeth A. Moore, Interim Chief Diversity Officer and professor of Social Work, are leading the creation of the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children, which honors the students and teachers of Kendall School Division II, a segregated school program of the early 1950s. Drs. McCaskill and Moore expressed their appreciation of the Sorenson donation, noting the company’s long-standing support of Gallaudet University
About Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in various fields, including accessible technology, Deaf history and culture, Black Deaf history and culture, brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, and psychology. For more information, visit www.gallaudet.edu.
About Sorenson Communications
Sorenson Communications taps the power of language for human relationships to thrive. As one of the world’s leading language services providers and the world’s leading provider of accessible communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Sorenson combines patented technology with human-centric services to connect signed and spoken languages. Sorenson offers caption and video relay services, over-video and in-person sign language and spoken language interpreting, real-time event captioning services, and post-production language services. For more information on how Sorenson advances human connection, visit www.sorenson.com or es.sorenson.com.
Director of Public and Media Relations
Director of Public Relations