For David (SVP ’83) ’87 and Patricia (SVP ’83) Keinath, it is all about connecting the deaf and hearing communities.
It is this passion that led the couple to establish DEAF Inc. in their hometown of St. Louis. The organization raises awareness for the city’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community, along with providing communication services, outreach and education. It was started after the Keinaths noticed that deaf people were having trouble accessing basic services like health care, fire and police.
“I hope more organizations like DEAF Inc. grow. I really don’t want to see the suffering and hardships that many deaf individuals go through,” David said. “We need to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.”
The Keinaths see that bridge being built right here at their alma mater, where they feel the connection between the students at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and other colleges is very strong.
“The communication here at RIT is wonderful,” Patricia said. “The mix between hearing and deaf populations—the collaboration—it is a wonderful university. I’m very impressed with how accepting RIT is.”
Part of the reason for this success is due, in part, to the Keinaths themselves, who have worked with NTID President Gerry Buckley to create scholarships for students and have remained involved with the college’s academic programs.
David was also instrumental in re-establishing the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, which he was a founding member of as a student, at RIT/NTID in 2016 after an eight-year hiatus. The ASL-oriented Greek organization now boasts 47 members.
The Keinaths will honored by the National Technical Institute for Deaf on Oct. 19 at the Presidents’ Alumni Ball as the college’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements.