Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law To Feature Former President of Gallaudet University

Issue Date: 
October 27, 2008


I. King Jordan, former president of Gallaudet University and the first deaf person to hold that office, will be the featured speaker at the University of Pittsburgh’s Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy. His free public talk, titled “Issues of Access in the Deaf and Disability Communities,” will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Barco Law Building’s Teplitz Memorial Courtroom.

Jordan’s appearance will be simulcast in the Pitt School of Law’s Room 109. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture.

Jordan became president of Gallaudet University—the world’s only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf or hard of hearing—after students protested the Gallaudet Board of Trustees’ hiring of a hearing person who was unable to communicate in Sign language. As a result of the 1988 protest, known as Deaf President Now (DPN), the board reversed its decision and voted to hire Jordan, a former dean of Gallaudet’s College of Arts and Science who had earned his PhD degree in psychology at Gallaudet.

With the support of faculty, staff, alumni, and the deaf community both nationally and internationally, DPN was viewed as a turning point in the lives of deaf people worldwide. Jordan’s term as president has been described as a beacon of self-determination and empowerment for deaf and hard-of-hearing people everywhere.

Jordan served at Gallaudet as professor, department chair, dean, and president. He has 11 honorary degrees and has been the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Presidential Citizens Medal, the James L. Fisher Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Larry Stewart Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association for Community Leadership.

The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series was created by a generous gift from former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and his wife, Ginny, director of the American Association of People with Disabilities’ (AAPD) Interfaith Initiative.

A 1957 graduate of the University’s law school, Dick Thornburgh has been a longtime Pitt trustee whose nomination as an emeritus trustee will be voted on Oct. 31 by the Pitt board.

Recipients of the 2003 Henry B. Betts Award from the AAPD, the Thornburghs donated the $50,000 Betts Award funds to the University to establish The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy through Pitt’s School of Law and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). Additional support for the lecture series is provided by Pitt’s Office of the Chancellor, law school, SHRS, and the Dick Thornburgh Forum on Law and Public Policy.

This lecture has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for 1.5 hours of CLE credit. Register at the door.

For more information on the lecture series, call 412-648-1490