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Washington, DC (December 6, 2010) – Gallaudet President Alan Hurwitz and Mrs. Hurwitz were invited to the White House to participate in the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah on December 2. The ceremony took place in the East Room of the president’s residence and both President and Mrs. Obama were on hand to greet their guests and join in the celebration.
Also in attendance were Vice President Joe Biden, the three Jewish members of the Supreme Court, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and Ambassador of Israel to the United States Michael Oren.
“When it was our turn to meet Barack and Michelle Obama, I introduced myself as the president of Gallaudet University,” said Hurwitz, “President Obama paused just for a beat, and then said, ‘You are doing very good work!’”
To Mrs. Obama, Hurwitz said he was aware of her past work as a note taker for deaf students at Whitney High school in Chicago to which, Hurwitz said, “She smiled and said, ‘Yes, I did that, and still remember a little sign language,’ and proceeded to sign: My name is—and fingerspell M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E.”
Each of the traditional elements of Hanukkah had special meaning at this event. The menorah came from Congregation Beth Israel in New Orleans where it had sat under eight feet of flood water following Hurricane Katrina in 20005. In addition, the traditional blessings were made by Susan Retik, recipient of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal. After Retik’s husband was killed on September 11, 2001, she turned her personal loss into a humanitarian mission by co-founding Beyond the 11th, a group that reaches out to Afghan widows.
“I was honored to be among so many great leaders and extraordinary individuals from the Jewish community and beyond,” Hurwitz said. “And I was brimming with pride at this chance to represent Gallaudet.”
Contact: Mercy Coogan email@example.com
Roberto E. Wirth, E-’74 & H-’09, passed away on June 5 in Rome, Italy. Mr. Wirth was owner and managing director of the Hotel Hassler in Rome, one of the most prestigious family-owned hotels in the world, and owned several other hotels and resorts throughout Italy. He was a strong advocate for deaf people in...
Alumnus Timel Benton has signed a contract with the Bay Area Panthers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Benton, who graduated last month, is the first Gallaudet Bison to sign a professional football contract since Tony Tatum signed on with the Utah Blaze in the now-disbanded Arena Football League (AFL) in May 2013. Benton was...
James Caverly, ’11, who plays Theo Dimas in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, will play Professor Harold Hill in the Olney Theatre Center’s summer production of Meredith Willson’s Tony-winning musical The Music Man, which opens tonight and runs through July 23. The show’s official opening is on Thursday, June 23. Sandra Mae Frank, ’13,...
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