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The Honorable Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen gave the address at Gallaudet's 140th Commencement on May15, 2009 and was presented the degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa. Ms. Newhoudt-Druchen earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from Gallaudet, and holds the distinction of being the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African Parliament.
Undergraduate student speakers were Bradley Dale from Texarkana, Arkansas and Colleen Doyle from Houston, Texas. Mr. Dale received his bachelor of arts degree in American Sign Language and Ms. Doyle graduated summa cum laude with general studies honors, having earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies and a minor in journalism.
Graduate student speaker Luciana Spinosi was raised in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and graduated with a master of arts degree in teaching in American Sign Language/English bilingual deaf education. A president's scholar, Ms. Spinosi is currently employed as a social studies teacher at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf.