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Alumnus Tate Tullier named Trailblazer of the Year

October 27, 2009
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Alumnus Tate Tullier, a prominent professional photographer, was named Purple Communications’ Trailblazer of the Year and winner of the text and video relay company’s Dream Bigger Campaign at an October 17 gala. As winner of the campaign, Tullier received $10,000, which he chose to donate to the Louisiana School for the Deaf, a Baton Rouge-based school serving over 500 deaf and hard of hearing youth.

“More than anything, the honor is completely humbling,” said Tullier after the event. “It’s an honor coming from the community as a whole.”

The Dream Bigger Campaign recognized 10 accomplished people in the deaf and hard of hearing community and celebrated their advancements with events taking place in their home states. The finale event took place at the Washington Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C.

As part of the Trailblazer of the Year selection, each of the nominees was awarded a $1,000 cash prize from Purple Communications to be donated to his or her non-profit organization of choice. As the winning nominee, Tullier earned not only a $10,000 gift for the school, but also an all-expenses-paid vacation to the destination of his choice.

Over 8,000 people in the deaf and hard of hearing community read about each Trailblazer nominee, viewed videos, and cast their votes at in the five months leading up to the gala. Tullier was named the winner in front of an audience of over 850 people at the Trailblazer of the Year finale, and 21,000 online viewers.

Tullier’s interest in photography began at age 12, inspired by the landscape of his native Louisiana. During his time at Gallaudet, Tullier focused his lens on Kendall Green as a Tower Clock yearbook photographer and photography editor for The Buff and Blue newspaper.

After graduating in 2003, Tullier started a photography business in New York City, then moved his company to Louisiana in 2005. When Hurricane Katrina devastated Tullier’s beloved New Orleans, he helped with relief efforts by serving as lead photographer for the Ruby Slippers Cookbook. Sales of the book raised thousands of dollars for the restoration of coastal Louisiana. Tullier’s business has grown significantly in recent years, thanks to a combination of online and “word of hand” marketing. Some of this he attributes to the connections and knowledge he gained as a Gallaudet student.

A major element of Tullier’s own success, he believes, comes from connections and knowledge he gained at his alma mater. “Being a Gallaudet student has definitely had a big impact on where I am now with my photography career and I am forever grateful for that,” Tullier said.

“Tate is a true creative inspiration for both the deaf and hearing community. His passion for finding the beauty in life is a trait we can all benefit from,” said Brandon Arthur, vice president of marketing communications for Purple Communications. “Purple is proud to honor his talents and to donate the $10,000 to the Louisiana School for the Deaf. We hope these proceeds will help to inspire the deaf youth of tomorrow, strengthening their passions and offering them the opportunity to succeed.”

Tullier has two words of wisdom for young students who want to realize their own dreams: “Do it. It’s simple advice, but the truth. Build your confidence, work on your people skills, and do your hardest to build a business out of it,” Tullier said. “I have a good number of years of experience but am still learning things every day about my work, and continue to find things I need to improve. Again, do it.”



27 October 2009


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