Gerald “Bummy” Burstein, ’50 & H-’86, to Receive Sesquicentennial Distinguished Alumni Award

June 11, 2014

Gerald "Bummy" Burstein, '50 & H-'86 will receive the Sesquicentennial Distinguished Alumni Award during the Gallaudet University Reunion Week July 9-13, 2014. The reunion celebrates both the university's 150th anniversary of the signing of its charter and the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA).

On April 8, during the university's Charter Day Festival, GUAA President Alyce Slater Reynolds, '76 & G-'78 and Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz announced that Burstein would receive the award, an honor bestowed by both the GUAA and the Board of Trustees, for his decades of GUAA leadership and unwavering support to the University.

"Bummy Burstein has dedicated his life to supporting and serving the Gallaudet University community and the Gallaudet University Alumni Association," said Hurwitz. "Bummy has given generously and led several alumni fundraising challenges that raised more than $1 million. Bummy is passionate about preserving his beloved alma mater for future generations of young deaf and hard of hearing students."

Burstein served the GUAA with distinction for 13 years as president of its board of directors, 13 years as immediate past president, and three years as vice president.

"Bummy has set the gold standard for alumni because of his generosity, his leadership of the GUAA during a challenging time in the university's history, and his commitment to all current and future students," said Reynolds.  

In 2002, Burstein established the G. "Bummy" Burstein Leadership Institute (BLI) which is dedicated to improving the quality of the personal and professional lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and developing and enhancing the leadership abilities of individuals who administer programs and services in deaf-centric, non-profit and for-profit agencies and corporations.

Burstein has received numerous awards from the university including the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in 1986, the first Deaf President Now Leadership Award in 2005, and Alice Cogswell award in 1992 from the Laurent Clerc Culture Fund of the GUAA.

Burstein taught for 15 years at the Minnesota School for the Deaf, Faribault, before moving to California School for the Deaf, Riverside, as a teacher and an administrator for 37 years. He is a history buff, and strongly believes that it is important to preserve the past, and has made a substantial gift to the Gallaudet University Museum Fund.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.

The Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) was founded in 1889 and represents more than 18,000 alumni who live across the United States and around the world. Currently, there are more than 8,000 Life Members and 53 chapters in the U.S., Japan, and Canada. The mission of GUAA is to preserve and increase the influence and prestige of Gallaudet University as an institution of higher education for the deaf, to promote those concerns that affect the welfare of the deaf in general, especially those associated with education, and to perpetuate the friendships formed during college life and to promote social and fraternal relations among alumni of different college generations.

Office of Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Kaitlin Luna
Coordinator of Media and Public Relations
(202) 448-7106 voice
(202) 250-2973 videophone
(585) 507-1705 mobile/text
kaitlin.luna@gallaudet.edu

GUAA Contact:
Sam Sonnenstrahl, '79 & G-'84
Executive Director, Alumni Relations and GUAA
(202) 250-2590 videophone
(202) 651-5060 voice
samuel.sonnenstrahl@gallaudet.edu