RIT/NTID’s Robert Panara to be honored in stamp event April 11

Image of stamp with dark background and Robert Panara in glasses, gray shirt and purple sweater signing

The First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony for the Robert Panara two-ounce Forever stamp will take place 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 11 in Panara Theatre, LBJ Hall on the RIT campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The program will feature U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer David Williams, President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and Rochester Institute of Technology Vice President and Dean Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID Instructional/Support Faculty member John Panara (son), Stamp Photographer Mark Benjamin and Author and NTID Professor Emeritus Dr. Harry Lang

The public may RVSP online at usps.com/rpanara. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view live streaming video of the event at facebook.com/USPS, and are asked to use the hashtags #PanaraForever and #DeafEducation on social media.

The Postal Service’s 16th stamp in the Distinguished Americans series honors Robert Panara (1920-2014), an influential teacher and a pioneer in the field of Deaf Studies. He inspired generations of students with his powerful use of American Sign Language to convey works of literature. At age 10, Panara was profoundly deafened after contracting spinal meningitis, which damaged his auditory nerves.

Panara taught English for two decades, beginning in 1948, at Gallaudet College (now University), in Washington, DC. In 1967, he helped found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and became its first deaf faculty member. For the next 20 years, he taught English to both deaf and hearing students at NTID, part of Rochester Institute of Technology in New York State.

The two-ounce Forever stamp features a photograph of Panara signing the word “respect.” The issuance coincides with the 200th anniversary of the founding in 1817 of the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT — marking the beginning of formal education for deaf students in America.

Once purchased, the stamp is always good for mailing two-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future, regardless of price changes. The current price is 70-cents.