Stage and screen star Nanette Fabray addressed the 114th graduating class of Gallaudet College, the world's only accredited liberal arts college for deaf students, at graduation ceremonies May 22. Sixty-five master's and 161 bachelor's degrees were awarded. Gallaudet became a college for the deaf in 1864 by order of President Abraham Lincoln and an act of Congress.
Fabray, who was born with a hearing defect, has frequently participated in events involving the deaf. At the graduation ceremony, she, with her son Jamie MacDougall, announced the establishment, starting this year, of the MacDougall Creative Writing Award, named in honor of Fabray's late husband.
The purpose of the award is to recognize and encourage deaf students who have writing talent. Fabray, in cooperation with the Writers Guild Foundation, will make available $2,000 each year in perpetuity to grant the one $1,000 and two $500 dollar awards to be presented.
During the commencement, three honorary degrees were awarded. Patria Forsythe, the staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped and Frank Sullivan, president of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, each received a doctor of laws degree.
The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, an insurance company established in 1907, is the world's largest and most successful private business corporation managed entirely by deaf persons, according to a spokesman at Gallaudet.
Lawrence Newman, the assistant superintendent of the California School for the Deaf-Riverside, received a doctor of letters degree at the ceremony.