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Current Provost Becomes University's Second Deaf President

WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Jane K. Fernandes, Gallaudet
University Provost since 2000, was introduced today as Gallaudet's 9th
president. She will take office in January 2007. Celia May Baldwin, Interim
Chair of the university's Board of Trustees made the announcement at a
campus convocation this afternoon after the full board elected Dr.
Fernandes president over the weekend.
Fernandes will replace long-time Gallaudet president, Dr. I. King
Jordan, who made history in 1988 becoming the first deaf person selected to
lead a university when he was named Gallaudet's 8th president. Dr. Jordan
announced his retirement in the summer of 2005 after more than 18 years as
president. Dr. Jordan will retain the title "President Emeritus" and will
continue to assist the new president and the university.
"Gallaudet is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Jane Fernandes as our
next president," said Celia May Baldwin, Chair of the University's Board of
Trustees. "Jane has a deep understanding of how this university works,
having served in senior leadership positions here for more than a decade.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, for the Board to find anyone with
greater breadth or depth of experience. The executive positions she has
held at both the K-12 and University levels -- and the notable
accomplishments she has made in these positions -- make her uniquely
qualified to lead Gallaudet.

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"Jane has proven her leadership skills time and time again, often
having to make very difficult decisions, and we believe that this has
prepared her well for the presidency. We are thrilled to have someone of
her caliber succeed King Jordan and believe that she will be an outstanding
president of Gallaudet."
As Provost, Dr. Fernandes is the chief academic officer of the
University, responsible for all of the academic programs and academic
support components at Gallaudet. The Academic Affairs division for which
she is responsible has 670 faculty and staff and a budget of more than $83
million. She has been one of the key leaders in the development of the
University's vision and strategic plan, and recently co-authored "Towards
an Inclusive Deaf University: Achieving Equitable Outcomes for All
Students" which specifically addressed two of the key goals of the
university's plan.
A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Fernandes attended public
schools. She is a graduate of Trinity College (Connecticut), earning a B.A.
degree in French and comparative literature, and the University of Iowa,
where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature. After
graduating from Iowa, she worked for Northeastern University before coming
to Gallaudet as Chair of the Department of Sign Communication. She later
moved to Hawaii where she established the Interpreter Education Program at
Kapi'olani Community College and served for five years as the director of
the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind.
In 1995 she returned to Gallaudet to become the Vice President for the
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center where she and her team
developed innovative curriculum, materials, and teaching strategies for
schools serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students throughout the nation.
Last year, more than 450 schools had adopted the Clerc Center's methods.
Dr. Fernandes has authored and co-authored numerous scholarly
publications, and will soon be sending her new book, Signs of Eloquence: a
Study of Deaf American Public Address (with James Fernandes) to press. She
has been an invited speaker at conferences all over the country and will
travel this May to Bangkok, Thailand where she will give the keynote
address at the First World Congress on The Power of Language: Theory,
Practice, and Performance.
"I am humbled and honored by the decision of the Board," said Dr.
Fernandes at the ceremony announcing her appointment. "I give you my word
that I will make every decision and lead this university based on what is
in the university's best interest ... I am grateful that the Board has
entrusted me with this wonderful opportunity to serve this university that
I love."
Dr. Fernandes is married to Dr. James J. Fernandes, a former professor
in Gallaudet's Department of Communication Studies. They have two children,
Sean (15) and Erin (13).
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and
career development for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students. The
University enjoys an international reputation for its outstanding graduate
programs as well as for the quality of the research it conducts on the
history, language, culture, and other topics related to deaf people. The
University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center serves deaf and
hard-of-hearing children at its two demonstration schools and throughout
the nation by developing, implementing, and disseminating innovative
educational strategies. Gallaudet is located in Washington, DC where it was
founded in 1864 by an act of Congress, and its charter was signed by
President Abraham Lincoln.

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