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Indiana School for the Deaf names elementary school building after Dr. Laurene Simms

November 9, 2018
By Andrew Greenman, ’10

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Headshot courtesy of Dr. Laurene Simms.

Dr. Laurene Simms, a professor in the Department of Education, had the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) elementary school building renamed after her during ISD’s Homecoming and 175th anniversary celebration on September 28, 2018. The renaming took place during a morning dedication ceremony honoring Simms.

The plaque given to Simms, an alumna of ISD, reads as follows:

“As principal of the elementary school, she was an influential participant in ISD’s transition to the bilingual-bicultural philosophy of deaf education. Throughout her career, she has shared her knowledge and expertise with generations of students, families, and educators. A skilled mentor, she presents and consults widely on bilingual and multicultural education.

Simms’s lifelong dedication to language, culture, education, and social justice has made her a well-known, greatly respected, and much beloved expert within the academic community and beyond. Her commitment to excellence and equity has been inspiring.”

“I feel so honored to have the elementary school building named after me, where I taught and worked as an administrator for many years,” said Simms. “I have learned that, as you grow up, you become great role models for the next generation. Continue fighting to reach your goals, and never give up.”

“Simms is an inspirational leading light in ensuring language access and bilingual education for all deaf children,” said Dr. Khadijat Rashid, ’90, dean of the School of Education, Business and Human Services. “It has been a honor to work with her and her colleagues in Gallaudet’s Department of Education. We are all so proud of all that she has accomplished, and yet Simms is not resting on her laurels. Instead, she continues to work tirelessly to bring Gallaudet’s bilingual mission to life, collaborating with colleagues and other individuals from all walks of life. Congratulations! We know this honor will only spur you on to greater heights.”

“Simms inspires us all on a daily basis,” said Gallaudet President Roberta J. Cordano, who attended and spoke at the ISD ceremony honoring Simms. “It is not just her life story or her scholarship. It is the quiet, unassuming way in which she carries herself, and the careful, thorough mentoring she has provided for generations of deaf and hard of hearing children, colleagues, and undergraduate and graduate students in the field of deaf education, early language acquisition, and bilingualism.

“We at Gallaudet University thank the Indiana School for the Deaf for honoring Simms, and congratulate her with much admiration and respect.”

You can view photos and videos of the dedication event here.

9 November 2018
By Andrew Greenman, ’10

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Andrew Greenman, ’10

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