On Tuesday, January 31st, the Gallaudet University community went to Elstad Auditorium for President Cordano’s State of University speech. There was a minor change on the stage! There was no podium or teleprompter mirror visible on stage at all. Instead, you could see the entire stage without any barriers. President Cordano’s idea was to have complete ASL visibility– she felt the podium is not very deaf-friendly. There was a small computer screen clipped on the edge of the stage where Mrs. Cordano could see the PowerPoint slides with notes so she could explain what is occurring on each slide. This replaced the teleprompter, which has ‘frizzled’ down over her beautiful signing twice now.
President Cordano’s speech was about updating the university with several projects that are underway. She is working on the bilingual task force, which is in the process of bringing Gallaudet University to a more bilingual culture, celebrating the full linguistic diversity of all students. The task force is still in progress and there are other ongoing committees, including the 6th street project, which is one of the bigger projects that Gallaudet has been working on. She mentioned that the 3rd floor Lyceum in College Hall will be converted to a lab where the 6th street project is being developed. The community will be invited for several input forums to help the design team to come up with the final project design. 6th street will connect with the DC neighborhood and the outside community. The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) position is still undergoing the search process and Cordano mentioned it has been four years since Gallaudet has had a CDO chair. She realized that when the committee started last spring; many students on the committee graduated and caused some major changes. She came up with the idea that members of the search committee could commit eighteen months on the CDO search team.
President Cordano has also talked about the executive order regarding travel bans which President Donald Trump has signed. She stated that her executive team will be monitoring the situation closely, and that Gallaudet University is a diverse community in which we should cherish on each other regardless of political view. We are all united together and should not oppress each other. The audience cheered on her statement in agreement. This was a powerful statement from her and I agree with her viewpoint on the political party differences.
Gallaudet University is really gearing forward with new projects and so many exciting things that will happen. She announced that in April, Gallaudet University will host a trip to Capitol Hill for a “Gallaudet Hill Day,” where students will go to Capitol Hill and discuss with congress to show that we are Gallaudet and keeping aware that we are unified and diverse. She hosted an event on February 7th during common hours at MPR to explain more about this opportunity. It has only been a year of her presidency already! She has been doing an amazing job and I am proud to have her here at Gallaudet.
To cap off the SOTU, she opened the audience for questions, which was amazing. I like to get the chance to get more information from President Cordano and interacting with her. I am excited to see what else she will bring to Gallaudet.