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Gallaudet At a Glance

Shaping Deaf lives and the signing ecosystem for centuries.

For over 150 years, we have stood firm to our mission, which is to empower deaf and hard of hearing students. Gallaudet is our space where the vitality of the Deaf experience and vibrancy of sign language thrive. By acting together for the greater good of our students and our community, we create a better world. 

Have a quick glance at Gallaudet’s influence on culture; see what highlights our distinction and our perseverance towards our mission.


Gallaudet has continued to evolve since 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation authorizing the establishment of a college for deaf and hard of hearing students in Washington, D.C.

We are becoming.

See our progress since the early 1800s.

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Campus Mall Landscape
The Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind was incorporated in 1857, with Edward Miner Gallaudet serving as the school’s president.
Campus Mall Landscape
The National College for the Deaf and Dumb was established seven years later in 1864 with the signing of its charter by President Lincoln.
The National Deaf-Mute College became the name of the college in 1865, when blind students were transferred to the Maryland Institution for the Blind. This name remained in effect until 1893.
The Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb became the corporate name of the greater institution in 1865, which included both the National Deaf-Mute College and the Primary Department.
The Kendall School became the name of the Primary Department in 1885, honoring Amos Kendall, the philanthropist who initially donated the land for the establishment of the school.
Gallaudet College became the name of the college in 1894, and it remained so until 1985. This renaming honored the Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, father of Edward Miner Gallaudet.
The Columbia Institution for the Deaf became the corporate name in 1911.
Gallaudet College became the corporate name in 1954.
The Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD), authorized by Congress in 1966, opened on campus in 1969.
The Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) became the name of the Kendall School in 1970 when President Richard Nixon signed Public Law 91-597.
Gallaudet University became and has remained the name of Gallaudet College since President Ronald Reagan signed the Education of the Deaf Act (Public Law 99-371) in 1986.
Today, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center comprises KDES and MSSD. Its mission is to improve the quality of education provided to deaf and hard of hearing students across the United States.

The Impact of Gallaudet

Gallaudet is powerfully showing the value of deaf people across the spectrum of identities. Here, being deaf is not something to overcome, but a process of understanding oneself, building connections within and beyond the signing and deaf community. By extension, our campus is a place where deaf individuals will find affirmative and positive acceptance of who they are and all they have to offer the world.

Gallaudet University founded

President Lincoln signed off on an act that allowed for the establishment of a school of the Deaf, which remains the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Formal recognition of ASL as a Language

As a result of research by William Stokoe, a longtime professor of English at Gallaudet, and the support of two Deaf colleagues, the study of ASL linguistics was established.

Deaf President Now Movement

The Deaf President Now (DPN) movement, in 1988, has been synonymous with continuous efforts to improve the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people everywhere. It led to the appointment of the university’s first deaf president and instilled a sense of pride and accomplishment in deaf and hard of hearing people around the world

DPN led to legislative and social change in the United States

Several new bills were signed after the DPN movement, which includes the Telecommunications Accessibility Enhancement Act, the Television Decoder Circuitry Act, and the historical Americans with Disabilities Act, granting accessibility and protections for people with disabilities unlike ever before.

A diverse, bilingual environment on historical grounds.

Campus Landmarks

  • GU at a Glance

    Chapel Hall

    Built in 1870, Chapel Hall was once the main hub of the university, serving as a chapel, auditorium, exhibit center, and dining hall. This picturesque High Victorian Gothic building is on the National Park Service National Register of Historic Places.
  • GU at a Glance

    College Hall

    Completed in 1877, College Hall was the main academic building and dormitory for male students. This is now the main administration building.
  • GU at a Glance

    Edward Miner Gallaudet Residence

    Also known as House one, this 35-room Victorian Gothic mansion was built in 1869 for the university's first president, Edward Miner Gallaudet.
  • GU at a Glance

    Peikoff Alumni House

    When this gymnasium, affectionately known as "'Ole Jim," was built in 1881, it was considered one of the finest in the nation and boasted what is possibly the first indoor swimming pool in the country. Learn more about 'Ole Jim'
  • GU at a Glance

    Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell statue

    One of the early works of renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French, this statue depicting the special bond between teacher and student that revolutionized deaf education around the world, was a gift from the National Association of the Deaf in 1889.

Lifelong learning and career support

Get the degree you want.

Gallaudet has more than 50 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs. No matter where you are in your higher education journey, we will help you find your best fit and accomplish your dreams.

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Campus Tour

The next best thing to visiting in-person – tour our campus and residence halls from the comfort of your own home.

Gallaudet University Regional Centers

These host institutions share Gallaudet’s undergraduate and graduate programs and Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center’s resources and expertise through training programs, workshops, conferences, youth programs, technical assistance and consultation.

Our Regional Centers

East: Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA

Midwest: John A. Logan College, Carterville, IL

West: Ohlone College, Fremont, CA

South: Austin Community College, Austin, TX

& Partners

Gallaudet University is proud to have formed partnerships, Memorandum Of Understandings (MOUs) with 28 universities. Including:

Funding for research and innovation.

Research conducted by the students, faculty and staff at Gallaudet University is supported by a total of $4.7 million that is secured every year through grants, fundraising, and donors like you.

Accredited by multiple prestigious organizations.

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate