Founders, students, dignitaries to turn out for SWCID anniversary

Founders, students, dignitaries to turn out for SWCID anniversary

by Ruth Campbell
Midland Reporter-Telegram

Published: Friday, November 6, 2009

BIG SPRING — The dedication of a $1.15 million technical training center at
Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf kicks off the campus’ 30th
anniversary celebration at 12:30 p.m. today.

A campus of Howard College located at the former Webb Air Force Base, SWCID
has 120-130 deaf and hard of hearing students, Howard College President
Cheryl Sparks said. The technical training center provides workforce
education for students on campus so they don’t have to go elsewhere.

T. Alan Hurwitz, current president of the National Technical Institute for
the Deaf, connected with Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, will be
the main speaker. Hurwitz was recently appointed president of Gallaudet
University in Washington, D.C., and will begin his tenure in January 2010,
Sparks said.

The celebration is being held on the exact day the school was formed.

“We’re very excited,” Sparks said. “It is a very special day in the history
of SWCID. We are pleased that so many of our founding leaders … will be in
attendance and we’re honored that Dr. Hurwitz, who has served a very
important role in the advancement of post-secondary education for the deaf
and hard of hearing, will be one of our main speakers.”

The fete also includes recognition of students and remarks from current and
past officials who played a role in forming SWCID, greetings from
dignitaries and appearances by state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and Rep.
Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton.

Sparks, Provost Mark J. Myers and Howard College board of trustees Chairman
John Freeman will make remarks.

Speakers include Charles Hays, president of Howard College from 1974-1984,
during which time SWCID was created; Beatrice Burke, wife of Doug Burke, who
was the first SWCID administrator. He died several years ago, but she
continued to serve on the faculty of the school retiring after 19 years.

Dominick V. Bonura, dean of students at SWCID from 1981-1986, will also make

SWCID alumni are planning a 30th reunion July 9-10, 2010.

“Essentially, SWCID is the only community college for the deaf in the
world,” Sparks said, adding the school gets students from all over the
world. “We have Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and NTID, which is
affiliated with RIT is the vocational or technical component of post
secondary education, and the SWCID campus. … There are deaf programs
associated with colleges and universities across the country, but SWCID is
unique in that it has ability to provide students with a self-contained
opportunity or mainstream.”

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