Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano Talks Her Life, Deaf Innovation, And Overseeing A ‘Global Beacon’ For Millions

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Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano Talks Her Life, Deaf Innovation, And Overseeing A ‘Global Beacon’ For Millions

Steven Aquino
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Steven covers accessibility and assistive technologies.

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Dec 15, 2022,04:37pm EST

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Roberta J. Cordano is Gallaudet’s current president.

Gallaudet University

Roberta Cordano’s, nicknamed “Bobbi” by those who know her, connection to deafness starts with her hometown. Delavan, Wisconsin is home to the state’s school for the deaf and has a close-knit and vibrant deaf community. Her father, Waldo, was a teacher and athletic director at the deaf school; as their football coach, he’s regarded as one of the winningest football coaches of programs amongst residential schools. Cordano’s mother, Jean, was distinguished as the first deaf woman to serve as chief medical technologist at an American hospital. Together, Waldo and Jean had three daughters: two deaf and one hearing.

Like me—although I’m a CODA with some hearing loss in one ear—Cordano has been speaking American Sign Language since birth, thanks to [...]

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