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University Leadership

Leadership dedicated to creating new generations of changemakers

As an institution with a rich history of transformation and impact for more than 150 years, Gallaudet has been driving political, social, and economic impact in the signing and deaf community.

Gallaudet Statue
Students with tower clock

Gallaudet serves as a global change agent and a hub of the signing ecosystem.

Preparing students to flourish; Deaf and hearing students thrive professionally; the go-to source of knowledge, history, achievement, and inspiration and helping society value and appreciate all that deaf people have to offer.

Its extensive leadership and support network promises a world-class bilingual education, an equitable and welcoming learning experience, and a thriving hub of research and innovation creating an impact for the signing and Deaf community around the world.

Leading strategic initiatives, managing proper governance

Board Of Trustees Meeting

The Board of Trustees

Gallaudet is a federally funded and donor-supported university, governed by a Board of Trustees. The majority-deaf board of 18 trustees and three Congressional appointees works closely with the President to establish the vision for Gallaudet University and to chart the way forward.

A bold, fearless leader bringing transformational change to Gallaudet

Roberta J. Cordano, President

Office of the President

The Office of the President and its chief executives work closely with the leadership of the ten other divisions listed below.
GU President Roberta J. Cordano

Academic Affairs

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

Bilingual Experience & Innovations

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Marketing, Outreach and Undergraduate Admissions

Institutional Advancement

Operations

Finance

General Counsel

Investing in change through partnerships

Strategic partnerships with multiple brands have created a rich signing ecosystem throughout the campus, its neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and the virtual world beyond.

Group of students
Group of students

Our partners in education create a worldwide campus for Deaf students, from toddler to adult.

Roberta J. Cordano, J.D.

President

Roberta J. “Bobbi” Cordano is the eleventh president of Gallaudet University. In office since January 2016, she is the university’s fourth deaf president since its founding in 1864, its first deaf female president, and its first openly identified member of the LGBTQA community. President Cordano has brought new energy and transformational leadership to the role, leading strategic planning, academic innovation, and new approaches to birth to 21 and higher education bilingual pedagogy, services and fulfilling Gallaudet’s service mission for the nation and the world. She has prioritized Gallaudet’s unique mission and history as a bilingual institution, recognizing its unique legacy with sign in language vibrancy and focusing on Gallaudet’s unique economic contribution to creating and growing a significant sign language economy. She is committed to preparing our children, our undergraduate and graduate students and broader creating economic and leadership opportunities for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind individuals. As Gallaudet navigates the novel coronavirus pandemic, she led our educational programs to becoming virtual and is committed to continuing to assure that Gallaudet remains a hybrid learning institution as we emerge from this pandemic. She is deeply committed to leading the university’s multidimensional anti-racism initiative that focuses on individual, collective and systemic work to achieve a strong sense of belonging and equity for every member of our community. A seasoned, proven administrator and leader, President Cordano brings to her presidency skills and experience built in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She started her career as an attorney for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for 10 years. She has held leadership positions in higher education, health care, and the nonprofit sectors for organizations such as the university of Minnesota, Park Nicollet Institute and Park Nicollet Health Services, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. She was also a founding board member of two bilingual charter schools for deaf, hard of hearing. and deafblind children in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She served on the boards of these two schools for a total of 17 years, culminating with the merger of the two schools into a birth-12 grade school, Metro Deaf School. A 1987 graduate of Beloit College, President Cordano received her Juris Doctor degree in 1990 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Having grown up in a Deaf family, she is fluent in American Sign Language and English.
Heather Harker

Heather Harker

Chief of Staff

Heather Harker joined Gallaudet University as Chief of Staff in 2016. In this role, she supports the President and the executive leadership team in advancing strategic initiatives.

Ms. Harker was previously director of programs at Third Sector New England (TSNE)/Mission Works, which focuses on building power, knowledge, and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. Prior to her 15 years with TSNE, she was a teaching fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and served as assistant director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She participated in a three-year Kellogg International Leadership Program, which brought together 60 leaders and community change-makers from the United States, southern Africa, and Latin America.

Ms. Harker has also been a fellow with Discovering Deaf Worlds (2013-2014) which was focused on cross-cultural learning and capacity building in the Republic of the Philippines. She has served on the boards, including as Chair, of DEAF, Inc (2000-2005), The Learning Center for the Deaf (2005-2012), and Gallaudet University (2009-2016). An Echoing Green fellowship for social entrepreneurship took her to Malaysia to work with the deaf community to establish a public health workshop series, English as a Second Language programs, and a summer youth leadership camp, and gave her the opportunity to teach in schools for deaf students.

Ms. Harker earned her undergraduate degree in international relations from Brown University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

Jeffrey W. Lewis, Ph.D.

Jeffrey W. Lewis, Ph.D.

Interim Provost

Dr. Jeffrey W. Lewis has served as Interim Provost since April 2020. In this role, he leads the Division of Academic Affairs, which consists of a general studies program and five schools offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. The associate provost for academic quality and student success, the dean of the faculty; the dean of the graduate school, research, and continuing studies; and the dean of the library all report to him. As interim provost, Dr. Lewis manages resources to achieve the strategic goals and objectives of the university. He is committed to ensuring student success and overall institutional effectiveness through continuous assessment of outcomes and action planning based on assessment results. Dr. Lewis was a faculty member in the Department of Counseling at Gallaudet University for more than 35 years, teaching master’s-level graduate students in the clinical mental health counseling and school counseling programs. He also directed and co-directed the clinical mental health counseling program. Dr. Lewis, a native of New York City, received his B.A. in psychology from Gallaudet University and his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from New York University. A licensed psychologist, Dr. Lewis has had a long-time private clinical practice, specializing in working with individual clients, couples, and groups. He also offers long-distance counseling, facilitation, workshops, and consultation to various organizations and groups.

Marianne Belsky, Ed.S.

Chief Academic Officer
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

Marianne Belsky oversees all academic offerings at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf, the two federally-chartered demonstration schools within the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. She joined Clerc Center in 2014, bringing with her a wealth of experience in a variety of educational settings, including public schools, residential programs for deaf students , and a program serving students with special needs. She was a teacher for 19 years, and an administrator for 11 years including service as a K-12 principal and an instructional coach. Ms. Belsky is a Gallaudet alumna, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and an educational specialist degree in change leadership from Gallaudet University and a master’s degree in deaf education from McDaniel College.
Nicole Sutliffe

Nicole Sutliffe

Chief Administrative Officer
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

Nicole Sutliffe leads all administrative functions at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, the university’s K-12 and national outreach programs. She joined Clerc Center in 2003, and served as its executive director from 2008 to 2016. She has co-chaired the University Planning and Budget Committee and served as a member of the Crisis Leadership Team, among many other shared governance roles. Ms. Sutliffe’s background is in finance and business administration. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and her master’s degree in special education administration from Gallaudet University.
Laurene E. Simms, Ph.D.

Laurene E. Simms, Ph.D.

Interim Chief Bilingual Officer

Dr. Laurene Simms is the university’s first Chief Bilingual Officer. She leads the implementation of the bilingual framework and supports all related activities. ASL Connect, The ASLPI, and several other units focused on bilingualism and American Sign Language teaching and learning report to her. A long-time faculty member in the Department of Education, Dr. Simms has substantial hands-on experience in the implementation of a bilingual/multicultural educational environment for diverse deaf and hard of hearing children and is an acknowledged expert on the topic of using American Sign Language and English as the languages of instruction.Earlier in her career, Dr. Simms was a teacher and administrator at Indiana School for the Deaf, and an interpreter education at Western Oregon University. An Indiana native, she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the university of Nebraska at Lincoln, a Master of Education degree in deaf education from McDaniel College, and a Ph.D. degree in language, reading, and culture from the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Elizabeth A. Moore, Ph.D.

Elizabeth A. Moore, Ph.D.

Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr. Elizabeth A. Moore has been Interim Chief Diversity Officer since August 2020. She oversees the Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, whose stated mission is to lead the visioning and implementation of the university’s quest for inclusive excellence. Through compassionate listening and intentional cross-campus collaboration, EDI strives to transform relationships and policies to shape the Gallaudet University of the future. The Division focuses on creating a safe and welcoming community, ensuring equitable access and outcomes, forging strategic partnerships, providing the framework for intercultural competency, developing organizational resources, and ensuring collaborative leadership and shared accountability. Dr. Moore is also responsible for carrying out the university’s multifaceted anti-racism initiatives. Dr. Moore was a professor in the Gallaudet University Department of Social Work for 24 years, and served as MSW program director and department chair. She has been involved in numerous advocacy and professional organizations, including the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Board of Trustees, the Deaf Women United Board of Directors, Inc., the National Coalition on Deafness and HIV/AIDS, DC Area Black Deaf Advocates, International Alumnae of Delta Epsilon Sorority Endowment Fund Committee, Council on Social Work Education’s Persons with Disabilities and Disabilities Council, the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, National Black Deaf Advocates, and the Metropolitan Washington Schools of Social Work Policy Practice Forum Steering Committee. She was a founder of Philadelphia Black Deaf Advocates and Northern Virginia Black Deaf Advocates, and led the NBDA Senior Citizens Program. She has also been involved with organizations and advisory bodies in her native Philadelphia and in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Moore holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and a Ph.D. degree in special education administration, all from Gallaudet University.

Travis L. Imel

Dean of Student Affairs

Travis Imel oversees Student Affairs, which includes Athletics and Intramurals, Counseling and Psychological Services, Residence Life and Housing, and a number of units known collectively as Student Center Programs and Services. These units include Alcohol and Other Drugs Services, Campus Activities, Commuter Programs, Health and Wellness Programs, the Office of Campus Ministries, and Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. Student Affairs has a large number of professional and support staff, as well as a large student paraprofessional presence. Mr. Imel has worked in the student affairs field for 20 years, originally in residence life and judicial affairs. He was Special Assistant and Assistant Dean to his predecessor before being named Dean in 2019. He has served as a member and leader in numerous shared governance units. A native of Seattle, Mr. Imel holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gallaudet University.
Brandi Rarus

Brandi Rarus

Chief Marketing and Undergraduate Admissions Officer
Marketing, Outreach and Undergraduate Admissions

Brandi Rarus oversees the Office of University Communications and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. University Communications provides public and media relations, marketing, design, and photographic and videographic support to the university. Ms. Rarus came to Gallaudet from Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) in Austin, Texas, where she was Vice President of Public Relations, Engagement, and Policy. In this role, she led a team in the areas of media relations, brand management, corporate communications, social media, public policy, and community engagement. Earlier in her career at CSD, Ms. Rarus was director of business development, which included supporting CSD’s creative services. Before working with CSD, Ms. Rarus spent 11 years at Sprint in both account management and executive sales. Ms. Rarus is the author of Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption, a widely-acclaimed memoir. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Nicholas T. Gould

Nicholas T. Gould

Executive Director
Institutional Advancement

Nicholas Gould oversees the Office of Development and the Office of Alumni Relations, and provides support to the Gallaudet University Alumni Association. The Office of Development seeks philanthropic support from individuals, including alumni; corporations, and foundations, and provides stewardship for the university’s endowed funds. Mr. Gould has substantial experience in development and fundraising. He previously worked in the university’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. An Illinois native, Mr. Gould received a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies at Gallaudet University and a master’s degree in public communication at American University.
Dominic N. Lacy

Dominic N. Lacy

Chief Operating Officer

Dominic Lacy became Gallaudet’s first Chief Operating Officer in January 2020. He is responsible for ensuring that there is high-functioning administrative and operational support for the university community, including the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, and providing strategic leadership and direction to assure agile and responsive infrastructure and personnel to fulfill the university’s mission. He is in charge of developing effective teams and operations throughout the university, and strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship as part of the university’s culture. Currently, he is one of the principal leaders of the university’s COVID-10 response team.

Mr. Lacy came to the university from Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), where he was chief innovation officer and director of the organization’s Social Venture Fund. Previously, he worked for 14 years with Accenture plc, first in finance as an analyst, and then as a senior manager. He worked across different business domains, in technology consulting, management consulting, operations, and strategy consulting. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies to help them achieve strategic objectives such as streamlining operations and planning for the intersection of emerging technologies with business. He also has supported and led various types of multi-functional/cross-functional projects across many different industries with budgets upwards of $350 million. Industries served include resources, health care, high technology, consumer packaged goods and financial services. A native of St. Louis, Mr. Lacy received a degree in finance with a minor in political science at Southern Methodist University. He served on the board of the Deaf Action Center in Dallas for ten years, and was its first Deaf board president. In this role, he led a $15 million redevelopment project. He also served as a commissioner for the City of Dallas Community Development Commission.

Brad Hermes

Chief Financial Officer

Brad comes from Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) where he served as their CFO for the past eight years, as well as treasurer of the CSD Board. During his time at CSD, Brad built a team of twelve Deaf financial professionals and led a system-wide implementation of new accounting, human resources and payroll systems along with financial planning and analysis tools which greatly enhanced real-time reporting and visibility into CSD’s financials. He also helped establish the first Deaf-led Social Venture Fund that invests in and supports innovative companies in the Deaf community, creating a framework for investment growth supporting the non-profit organization’s mission.

A certified public accountant (CPA), Brad brings more than eighteen years of experience in financial management and oversight. He has advised and maintained client relationships in a variety of industries, including nonprofit, government, healthcare and technology—both nationally and abroad. Prior to CSD, he worked in senior auditing positions at KPMG LLP. 

Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in professional accounting from The University of Texas at Austin, where he played football for the Longhorns. He also served as a board member and treasurer for the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation.

Natalie T. Sinicrope, J.D.

Natalie T. Sinicrope, J.D.

General Counsel

Natalie Sinicrope was named general counsel for the university in September 2019, after having served as interim general counsel since October 2018. In this role, she manages the university’s legal representation in all litigation and administrative proceedings. Ms. Sinicrope provides counsel and advice concerning compliance with federal, state, and local law and regulations affecting institutions of higher education and legal advice, including preventative legal services and legal representation in monitoring and resolving disputes that may lead to litigation. She supports the university’s mission and its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusive excellence; and advises the President, the Executive Team, and senior leadership on a wide range of legal and strategic matters.

Prior to joining Gallaudet, Ms. Sinicrope was a litigator in private practice at Hogan Lovells, and before that an investigator in the Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, at the United States Department of Justice. She is a graduate of American University and Georgetown University Law Center.

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate