GUAA Celebrates 25th DPN Anniversary

In March 1988, Gallaudet University experienced a civil rights event that led to the appointment of the university’s first deaf president. Since then, Deaf President Now (DPN) has become synonymous with self-determination and empowerment for deaf and hard of hearing people everywhere. A series of events were held at Gallaudet during February and March 2013 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the DPN movement.

One of these events involved a DPN Student Leaders Panel, co-sponsored by the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA). The panel was live streamed on Saturday, March 9, 2013 to GUAA chapters in theU.S.and worldwide. The St. Augustine Chapter of GUAA joined hands with the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) to host the live webcast on the school campus. Several of the nearly fifty alumni and friends in attendance proudly wore their Gallaudet class shirts and caps. DPN memorabilia were displayed along with books, newspapers and magazine articles. Those who were directly involved in 1988 briefly shared personal experiences and commented on how the effects of DPN still reverberate to this day – across the nation and worldwide. Attendees then watched national GUAA President Alyce Slater moderate a lively panel which brought together the four student leaders who became the face of the DPN movement – Bridgetta Bourne-Firl, Jerry Covell, Greg Hlibok and Tim Rarus.

GUAA St. Augustine Chapter President Debbi Penrose remarked, “All in all, this anniversary event gave us the opportunity to remember a truly historic moment. Our memories shall sustain us as we continue to work together to break down barriers.  Long live Gallaudet and long live the Deaf community!”

For more information about the 1988 DPN movement and 25th Anniversary events – including the DPN Student Leaders Panel, visit