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Nancy E. Kensicki: An appreciation

April 22, 2022


Dr. Nancy E. Kensicki, a long-time faculty member at Gallaudet University, passed away on April 16, 2022 in Bowie, Maryland. She was 83 years old.

Dr. Kensicki taught English from 1967 to 2004, and served multiple terms as chair of the Department of English. She was involved in the faculty governance system and advised student organizations, including The Buff and Blue, the Delta Epsilon Sorority, and the Phi Alpha Pi Honor Society.

Nancy Maureen Evans was born on March 17, 1939 in Buffalo, New York to Margaret Villee Evans and Harry M. Evans. She enrolled at Gallaudet in 1957, left after one year, and returned to complete her bachelor’s degree in 1965. She served as president of the Delta Epsilon Sorority during her senior year. After she completed her master’s degree in 1967, Dr. William C. Stokoe, then chair of the Department of English, offered her a teaching position. She studied part-time for ten years while raising three young children, and earned her Doctor of Arts degree at the Catholic University of America in 1979. She is believed to be the first deaf woman to receive a doctoral degree in English.

Dr. Kensicki was a member of and held office – almost always secretary – in a myriad of local, state, and national organizations, including Deaf Telecommunicators of Greater Washington, Maryland Association of the Deaf, National Association of the Deaf, International Alumnae of Delta Epsilon Sorority, Maryland Deaf Senior Citizens, and Deaf Seniors of America. She served as secretary of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association Board of Directors for ten years, and served for over 40 years as a member and chair of GUAA’s Graduate Fellowship Fund Committee.

Dr. Kensicki is remembered by generations of students as one of their favorite teachers. “She clearly loved teaching,” said one commenter on Facebook, “and she had high expectations and higher standards.” She advised undergraduate students, served as a reader for Honors capstone projects, and served on several doctoral dissertation committees. She also actively recruited and mentored Deaf faculty for the English department.

Dr. Kensicki is survived by her husband of 61 years, Peter John Kensicki; three children: Wayne Peter Kensicki (Coleen), Linda Jean Kenix (Jennifer Lou), and Diana “DeeDee” Susan Kensicki Fleet; two grandchildren; and two brothers, including Henry B. Evans, ’69. She is predeceased by her parents, a brother, and a son-in-law. 

A memorial service is being planned for this summer at Gallaudet University. The family suggests contributions in Dr. Kensicki’s honor to one or both endowed funds that her family set up at Gallaudet, and/or the Gallaudet University Alumni Association Graduate Fellowship Fund. 

22 April 2022


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