October 21, 2015

RSD Board of Directors Honor Two Outstanding Deaf Leaders with 2015 Founder’s Awards

ROCHESTER, NY – Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) Board of Directors President Dr. Michael Doughty recently presented the schools’ 2015 RSD Perkins and Lyon Founder’s Awards to two outstanding individuals with lifelong tenures as teachers, administrators and leaders in the Rochester, New York State and national Deaf Education communities.

Dr. Harold Mowl, Jr., of Pittsford, received the 2015 Perkins Founder’s Award. This award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to RSD as a benefactor, volunteer, Board member, or community leader. The award is given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Gilman H. Perkins, whose loving concern for their deaf daughter Carolyn, led to the formal establishment of RSD in 1876.

Recently retired after serving 25 years as RSD Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mowl is the first deaf superintendent in the history of RSD, and the person responsible for skillfully guiding the private, state-supported school for deaf and hard of hearing children and young adults through somewhat turbulent New York State budget struggles on several occasions.

Dr. Mowl’s career in Deaf Education began at his Pittsburgh alma mater Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD). There he was a House Parent and Dormitory Director, Classroom Teacher, Dean of Students and Administrative Principal from 1974 to 1990 when he became Superintendent of RSD.

Dr. Mowl’s vision of RSD included a modernized campus, fulfilled through a number of large renovation projects and investments in high-tech classrooms and educational technology. Through his chairmanship of the 4201 Schools Association of New York State, for more than ten years, Dr. Mowl advanced the mission of RSD and of all eleven schools across the state serving families with deaf, blind and severely physically disabled children and young adults, newborn to age 21. He continues to serve as a Board member for WPSD, a Trustee of Rochester Institute of Technology and as a member of the National Advisory Group for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT.

During his tenure at RSD, Dr. Mowl and his family lost their only son Cpl. Kevin Mowl while serving his country with the US Army in Iraq. Cpl. Mowl died from injuries he suffered following a roadside bombing attack on his elite Stryker Force near Baghdad. Today, Kevin’s memory and his dreams are kept alive through the RSD Travel Abroad Fund the Mowl family established for RSD juniors and seniors.

The recipient of the 2015 RSD Lyon Founder’s Award is fellow Pittsford resident Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, President of Gallaudet University. The Lyon Founder's Award honors individuals for their professional contributions to the education of students who are deaf and hard of hearing. The award is given in honor of Mr. Edmund Lyon, a friend of the Perkins family, who played a key role in establishing RSD as a premier center for education of deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.

Dr. Hurwitz has gone from being an engineer to being an academic with a long career in higher education. He served as Dean at NTID, Vice President and Dean at RIT, President of NTID, and then President of Gallaudet University where he has served since 2010. He will return to Rochester and his home in Pittsford when he retires from Gallaudet at the end of this year.

As the only person ever to receive both the Perkins Founder’s Award and the Lyon Founder’s Award, Dr. Hurwitz has served as a member of the RSD Board of Directors for more than 27 years. He also has been involved with numerous professional and deafness-related organizations, such as the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, Association on Higher Education and Disabilities, American Society for Deaf Children, and Telecommunications for the Deaf. He currently serves as chair of the North Eastern Athletic Conference Presidents’ Council, the first deaf person to hold this position, and is a past president of the National Association of the Deaf as well as the World Organization of Jewish Deaf.

Dr. Hurwitz has been widely published and has lectured extensively on topics such as education, rights for people with disabilities, Deaf culture, and American Sign Language. He has worked tirelessly to lead and inspire college students and the Deaf community for several decades.




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