Gallaudet University, a prominent U.S. liberal arts college for the deaf and hard of hearing, announced the appointment of T. Alan Hurwitz as its new president on Sunday.

According to a Gallaudet press release, the announcement was made by Benjamin Soukup, chair of the Board of Trustees, in the university’s Swindells Auditorium. Hurwitz was selected after a year-long search, which was conducted with input from the students and faculty.

“In Dr. Alan Hurwitz the Board of Trustees has chosen a leader for Gallaudet who possesses an extensive and distinguished track record in the field of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing persons,” Soukop said in the press release.

“This expertise, along with his commitment to Gallaudet’s unique mission and strategic plan, ensures that he is the right person to lead the university as it seeks to attract and educate students from a variety of educational and communication backgrounds,” Soukup said.

Hurwitz, 67, will come to Gallaudet after a 39-year career at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, where he currently serves as president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf within the Rochester Institute of Technology His term will run for five and a half years, and will begin in January 2010.

The current president, Robert Davila, will leave in December, and Hurwitz will inherit an institution that is growing in size and relevance. Gallaudet currently has a freshman class of 300, which is about 70 students larger than last year’s class.

“My vision for Gallaudet University is, first of all, that we continue to be a premier liberal arts university with a career focus,” Hurwitz saidin the press release. “That’s what’s most exciting to me about this position; that we provide educational opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing students, for advanced education, and at some point in time, careers; that we remain a university of first choice for students. And, that we ensure that we are a university model for a bilingual and multi cultural institution; that we provide a wide range of needs to the individuals and their individual needs.”

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