Perseverance Is Key, NTID's Hurwitz Tells Deaf Grads

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, vice president for Rochester Institute of Technology and dean of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, told deaf high school graduates that higher education and perseverance are critical to success.

The graduation keynote speaker at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh, Penn., and the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Conn., Hurwitz admitted struggling at one point in his college career and even considered quitting.

"My father, who was a furniture upholsterer, bluntly asked me if I wanted to have the kind of job he had for the rest of my life,” he told graduates. “It didn’t take me long to figure out that education would be my ticket to success. Education will open the door to many interesting jobs, and will give you choices in life.”

“I worked a variety of jobs,” said Hurwitz, who was born profoundly deaf. “I was a busboy, a cabinetmaker, and a dishwasher. I chased turkeys at a farm and washed hundreds of cars at a car wash. No job was too trivial for me. By trying so many things, I learned both what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do.”

Hurwitz attended Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, and later earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Washington University at St. Louis, Mo., a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from St. Louis University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum/Teaching from the University of Rochester.

NTID is the first and largest technological college in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. One of eight colleges of RIT, NTID offers educational programs and access and support services to its 1,100 students from around the world who study, live and socialize with 14,200 hearing students on RIT’s Rochester, N.Y., campus.

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