History of NTID

RIT, founded in 1829, competed against eight other colleges for NTID to become part of the university. NTID began operations in 1968 to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing students with outstanding technical and professional education programs, complemented by a strong liberal arts and sciences curriculum, that prepares them to live and work in the mainstream of a rapidly changing global community and enhances their lifelong learning.


A workshop titled "Improved Vocational Opportunities for the Deaf" is held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The workshop endorses a proposal for the establishment of a National Technical Institute for the Deaf.


Senator Lister Hill (Alabama) introduces Bill S 1650. Companion bills were introduced by House Representative Hugh Carey of New York (HR 7031) and John Fogarty of Rhode Island (HR 7100).

Representative Carey brought up the NTID Bill on the floor of the House. It unanimously passed.

Senator Hill brought up the NTID Bill in the Senate, which also unanimously passed.

Public Law 89-36, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Act, is signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill will provide for the establishment and operation of a coeducational, postsecondary institute for technical education of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare invites colleges and universities from around the country to apply for sponsorship of NTID.


The National Advisory Board visits Rochester Institute of Technology.

Representative Carey announces that RIT is officially selected as the sponsoring institution for NTID.

Secretary John Gardner signed the contract awarding RIT the right of sponsorship of NTID.


Dr. D. Robert Frisina becomes the first director of NTID.

A National Advisory Group is appointed to assist Dr. Frisina in the development of NTID’s educational programs.


Dr. William E. Castle is appointed as assistant to the vice president and director of NTID. A pilot group of 70 deaf students arrive at RIT, which enrolls 14,000 students in seven colleges.

Dr. William E. Castle is appointed dean of NTID.


NTID’s first technical programs are offered. They include: architectural drafting, mechanical drafting, machine tool operation, and office practice and bookkeeping. The student interpreter training program is established. NTID was the first school in history to offer such a program.

Vestibule programs initiated to orient deaf students to the postsecondary college experience.

The Graduate Internship Program is initiated.

Temporary buildings on the west side of campus are constructed to alleviate space problems.


Free University established to offer courses in manual communication to RIT faculty, staff, and students. The Summer Vestibule Program is established.

NTID’s technical programs grow from four to 31.

The first deaf students participate in RIT’s cooperative education program.


The social work program is initiated at RIT, providing a new option for deaf students.

A groundbreaking and dedication ceremony for NTID’s first building is held.

NTID graduates its first class, with 54 graduates.


Experimental Educational Theatre is initiated. The division of advanced programs is established.

The community interpreter training program is established.


NTID’s Student Congress establishes Student Advisory Groups for five technical education areas.

NTID’s first alumnus is appointed to its National Advisory Group.


A dedication ceremony takes place for all of NTID’s buildings.

NTID’s Alumni Programs and Alumni Association are created.


The NTID dedication takes place.

The first NTID Alumni Chapter is established.

The notetaker/tutor training pilot program is initiated.


The first NTID mini convention is held.

The NTID Art Gallery is established.


Dr. D. Robert Frisina becomes senior vice president for RIT.

Dr. William E. Castle is named dean and director of NTID.


The National Center on Employment of the Deaf is established as part of Project Outreach.

Sunshine and Company, a theatrical educational outreach group, is created.

NTID celebrates its 10th anniversary.

RIT alumnus Carl Zollo created "The Split Cube" to commemorate NTID’s anniversary.

The 10th Anniversary Colloquia Series is held.


Dr. William E. Castle is named vice president of RIT for NTID.

Dr. Milo Bishop is named dean of NTID.

NTID’s buildings officially named: Lyndon Baines Johnson Building; Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Ellingson, and Peter N. Peterson Halls; and Hettie L. Shumway Dining Commons.

The Joint Educational Specialist Program established between RIT and the University of Rochester to train secondary teachers of deaf students is established.


Sunshine Too! is created as successor to Sunshine and Company.

The Creative Arts Program in Complementary Education is launched.

NTID names Loy Golladay its first professor emeritus.

The Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship is established.


The educational interpreting associate degree program accepts its first students.

Dr. Peter Pere is named dean of NTID.

NTID establishes a new department of physical education and athletics.


NTID celebrates its 15th anniversary.


Dr. James J. DeCaro is named dean of NTID.

The Hugh L. Carey Building is dedicated.

The Dr. Robert H. Weitbrecht Telecommunication Lab is dedicated.

The Mary E. Switzer Art Gallery is dedicated.

The Whitney Moore Young, Jr., Staff Resource Center is dedicated.


Explore Your Future technical career sampling program for high school juniors is initiated.

The American Sign Language Lecture Series begins.


NTID’s Federal Endowment Matching Grant Program is established.


NTID offers its first associate degree program in occupational studies.


NTID celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The NTID Theatre is dedicated in honor of Robert F. Panara.

Bonnie Tucker, a deaf attorney and law professor, is appointed to RIT’s Board of Trustees.


The International Center for Hearing and Speech Research is established.

The Educational Development Outreach Project is initiated.


NTID accepts its first international students.

The Office of NTID Alumni Relations is established.


NTID’s Strategic Planning process begins.

The Center for Sign Language and Interpreting Education is established.

The NTID Foundation is established.


The Self-Instruction Lab is dedicated in memory of Dr. Joanne Subtelny.

The NTID High Technology Center for Electronic Publishing and Imaging opens.

Tsukuba College in Japan becomes NTID’s first sister institution.


Dr. William E. Castle receives RIT’s Presidential Medallion.

25th Anniversary symbol, the flowering crab apple tree designed by artist and professor Leonard Urso, is created to symbolize the growth of NTID’s students and the expansion and strength of the institute.

The Strategic Plan is implemented. An Agenda for Action, the plan’s first leve,l is completed. The second level is initiated. Priorities address two major curriculum areas: students’ first-year experiences, and technical and general education requirements.

Campus Safety hires its first deaf officer to help strengthen service to the deaf community.

All seven of NTID’s centers hire directors.

Ratchasuda College of Mahidol University in Thailand becomes NTID’s second sister institution.


NTID Admissions sponsors its first open house for prospective students.

N.C. Bauman Institute at Moscow State Technical University in Russia becomes NTID’s third sister institution.

NTID hosts the National Symposium of Educational Media Technology Relating to Persons with Sensory Disabilities.


NTID develops the First-Year Experience program. The program is designed to enhance student retention by building a foundation for success in technical and professional programs.

A master of science program in secondary education of students who are deaf and hard of hearing is approved by New York state.


Dr. Robert R. Davila is installed as NTID’s first deaf vice president.

NTID is selected to be the site for the Northeast Technical Assistance Center. NTID receives a five-year, $5 million grant for the center.


Dr. Ralph Hoag receives the RIT Presidential Medallion.


Tianjin College for the Deaf in China becomes NTID’s fourth sister institution.

NTID’s 30th Anniversary Alumni Reunion is held on campus.

Education and Technology, a large stained-glass work by Sander Blondeel, is installed in the lobby of the Johnson Building.

The Frank Horton Conference Room is dedicated.

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz is installed as NTID’s first deaf dean.


Internet Technologies I offered for the first time in a distance-learning format.


Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center are held.


Postsecondary Education Network International, created with support from The Nippon Foundation, is established to improve high-tech education and career options for deaf residents in 10 countries.

The grand opening of the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center is held.

NTID hosts the National Symposium of Instructional Technology and Education of the Deaf.


Management information system for access services is inaugurated.

From Dream to Reality: The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, by Drs. Karen Conner and Harry Lang, is published.

A bachelor of science degree is offered in American sign language – English interpretation.


NTID instructor Marsha Wetzel becomes the first female deaf referee in the history of NCAA Division I Basketball.

An original stained-glass work depicting President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1965 law, which establishes NTID as a college of Rochester Institute of Technology, is created by Sander Blondeel and installed on the second floor of the Lyndon B. Johnson Building.

NTID hosts the Instructional Technology and Education of the Deaf Symposium.

The 35th Anniversary Alumni Reunion is held on campus.

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz is named vice president of RIT and dean of NTID.


A new administrative team is developed to include the associate vice president for Academic Affairs, assistant vice president for college advancement, assistant vice president for college operations, associate dean for academic administration, and associate dean for student and academic services.


Lizzie Sorkin becomes RIT's first deaf Student Government president.


The D. Robert Frisina Quad and CSD Student Development Center are dedicated.


NTID celebrates its 40th Anniversary Reunion on campus.


First Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival held on campus. NTID exhibits are highlighted.


Greg Pollock is the first deaf student elected to a second term as RIT Student Government president.


On May 6, 2011, Dr. Gerard Buckley is installed as president of NTID and vice president and dean of RIT, becoming the first alumnus to lead the college.


NTID celebrates its 45th Anniversary Reunion on campus as part of RIT's Brick City Homecoming Weekend. 

Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall, NTID's newest research-focused building, opens.


NTID alumna Amber Zion signs the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII.

NTID mourns the passing of two faculty pioneers: Robert F. Panara and E. Ross Stuckless.


NTID interpreting student History Estill-Varner is named a Fulbright Scholar. 

NTID dedicates the new Jan Strine Memorial Labyrinth in memory of the award-winning assistant professor and mentor.


RIT's national Carnegie Classification changed to "Doctoral University."


Robert F. Panara, NTID's first deaf faculty member, is immortalized by the U.S. Postal Service on a stamp. 


NTID celebrates its 50th anniversary with a weekend reunion gathering of more than 3,000 alumni, family and friends. 

"A Shining Beacon: Fifty Years of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf" is published.


LBJ Hall is rededicated in a ceremony celebrating the 50th Anniversary of RIT/NTID. Lucinda Robb, granddaughter of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, is in attendance.