Trustee Nomination Process

Establishment of the Board of Trustees
The Education of the Deaf Act, reauthorized in 1998 (P.L.105-244), spells out the composition requirements for the 21-member Board of Trustees to direct and control Gallaudet University:

  1. "Three public members of whom (i) one shall be a United States Senator appointed by the President of the Senate, and (ii) two shall be Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and
  2. "Eighteen other members, all of whom shall be elected by the Board of Trustees and of whom one shall be elected pursuant to regulations of the Board of Trustees, on nomination by the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, for a term of three years."

For the twenty-one Voting Trustees, the Bylaws stipulate that:

"A majority of the Voting Trustees shall be deaf or hard of hearing; provided, however, that failure to maintain a majority who are deaf or hard of hearing shall not diminish the Board's authority to act on any matter which may come before it."

Call for Nominations
The Gallaudet University Board of Trustees encourages nominations of individuals, including Gallaudet alumni, from any and all members of the University community, in order to fill any current or anticipated vacancies for the non-public members of the Board. All nominees should meet the criteria established in our document, "Selection Criteria for Trustee Nominees."

1. Submitting Nominations

Individual Submissions
Nominations for membership on the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees may be made by any source. Nominations should be provided in writing and may be submitted by electronic mail to Seth Bravin, '96, chair of the Committee on Trustees, at, or mailed to:

Nominations, Board of Trustees, Office of the President, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002

When submitting the nomination, the person making the nomination must include the name of the nominee, contact information for both the nominee and the person making the nomination, and the nominee's supporting documentation consisting of only the following: a) resume, and b) one or two paragraph biographical sketch highlighting activities and accomplishments. No letters of recommendation shall be considered.

Gallaudet University Alumni Association Submissions
The Gallaudet University Alumni Association shall participate in the nomination process at least every three years in order to ensure that one of the eighteen non-public members of the Board of Trustees is an Alumni Association nominee. The Alumni Association is presumed to have re-nominated their incumbent for as long the incumbent is eligible for re-appointment, unless the Alumni Association chooses to submit new nominations in a timely manner.

When replacing the incumbent, the Alumni Association shall nominate at least three potential Board members, and the Board of Trustees may request additional nominations. In order to permit adherence to the nomination process described below, the Alumni Association's nominations shall be submitted prior to the Board of Trustees' October meeting which precedes the expiration of the current term of the incumbent Alumni Association nominee.

Nominations shall be sent to James R. Macfadden, '62, chair of the Committee on Trustees, at The submission(s) should have the same contact information and supporting documents as requested of individual submitters.

Board of Trustee Submissions
Current Board of Trustee members should also convey their nominations, along with supporting documents, to the chair of the Committee on Trustees, Seth Bravin, '96 at The submission(s) should have the same contact information and supporting documents as requested of individual submitters.

2. Preliminary Review of Nominations

The supporting documents for all nominations will be reviewed by the Committee on Trustees to determine whether all required information has been provided and whether the information is sufficient to meet the criteria for membership established by Board (see the document, "Selection Criteria for Trustee Nominees"). Staff support will be coordinated by Board of Trustees Liaison in the Office of the President.

If it is determined that more information would be helpful, research may be conducted on the Web or requested from the person making the nomination and/or the nominee.

3. Committee Review of Nominations

After review and research, the names and supporting documentation for all nominees will be discussed by the Committee on Trustees, including the Board Chair, who is an ex-officio member of all committees. The Committee members will receive a report on nominees for whom insufficient information has been obtained to assess the individual's qualifications, or for whom it appears that a conflict of interest may exist, as well as the name of the individual making each nomination.

4. Committee Review of Nominations

Upon determination by the Committee on Trustees that a selected list of candidates satisfies the criteria for trusteeship and would add value to the Board, a recommendation will be made for the Board Chair and President of the University to have face-to-face meetings with the selected candidates.

After receiving input from the Board Chair and President, the Chair of the Committee on Trustees will prepare a final slate of potential candidates with summaries of their background and qualifications for review by the Committee on Trustees.

Names of potential candidates may be sent to the Vice President of Administration and Finance or General Counsel to screen for potential conflict of interest.

Should a majority of the Committee on Trustees vote to approve a candidate's nomination to the full Board, the Chair of the Committee on Trustees will provide all trustees with the candidate's background and documentation at the next annual or regular meeting of the Board of Trustees.

5. Board of Trustees Action

New trustees are elected by a majority vote of the incumbent trustees at a Board meeting where quorum has been established and proper public notice of the meeting has been given.

6. Public Announcement

The Chair of the Board of Trustees, with assistance of the Chair of the Committee on Trustees, will officially notify newly-elected members of the Board of Trustees and will issue a public announcement to the campus community of their election.