To:          The Deaf Communities of Hawai'i and Pacific Islands
From:      Lisa Jacobs, Director, Office of Regional and National Outreach
Date:      September 29, 2014
Subject:  Closing of the Gallaudet University Regional Center-Pacific

With regret, I announce the closing of the Gallaudet University Regional Center-Pacific (GURC-Pacific) at Kapi'olani Community College (KCC) as of Tuesday, September 30, 2014. This brings to a close 26 years of GURC service to Hawai'i and the Pacific. It does not, however, end our services altogether, as I will explain below.
The GURC-Pacific was established at KCC in 1988 after receiving an invitation from Dr. John Morton to house the GURC-Pacific center at KCC. However, over the years, funding for this center has been reduced for various reasons. As a result of these budget cuts, the GURC-Pacific center could only provide minimal funds for program support for the entire region. For Hawai'i, the center was able to support programs such as Shared Reading Saturdays, Academic Bowl teams from Hawai'i School for the Deaf and the Blind and Pearl City High School, Deaf Awareness Training for the Police Department and contributions to Deaf Santa; and in the Pacific, Deaf WorldTeach in the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. We have been very fortunate that external grants have helped to fund some of the ongoing programs through the GURC-Pacific.
We know there is still a need for resources for deaf children and their families in Hawai'i and especially in the Pacific. We want to continue to provide limited support to the Hawai'i-Pacific region. In order to do this, we asked Dr. Judy Coryell to serve as a Consultant to focus on Pacific Initiatives through my office at Gallaudet (Office of Regional and National Outreach). Judy has agreed to coordinate efforts for a limited number of programs such as Shared Reading Saturdays, regional and national Academic Bowl competitions on Oahu, and Deaf WorldTeach in the Pacific. Part of Dr. Coryell's responsibilities will be to seek grant funding to help offset the costs of these programs.
I would like to recognize the visionary support of Dr. John Morton. I also would like to recognize the innovative work of the GURC-Pacific directors that have brought resources to Hawai'i and the Pacific over the past 26 years: Dr. James Fernandes, Ms. Nancy Bridenbaugh, Ms. Sara Simmons, and Dr. Judy Coryell. I also want to extend a huge mahalo to the administration at KCC, Chancellor Dr. Leon Richards and Vice Chancellor Dr. Louise Pagotto, for their strong leadership that has allowed the GURC to provide quality programs and valuable resources to Hawai'i and the Pacific region over many years, and for their long history as a host institution for the Gallaudet University Regional Center serving Hawai'i, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Even though there will no longer be a regional center physically located at KCC, we are committed to supporting a few key Pacific initiatives and look forward to continued collaboration on projects of mutual interest that serve deaf and hard of hearing people throughout Hawai'i and the Pacific.

Thank you again for your support, and warmest wishes for continued success.

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