Press Release - Office of College Advancement

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Office of College Advancement
Ohlone College

Ohlone College Gets Grant for Deaf Studies Lab

$200,000 from East Bay Community Foundation

Fremont, CA—A $200,000 grant from the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) to Ohlone College will furnish and equip a newer, more fully developed Deaf Studies/American Sign Language (ASL) Computer Laboratory at Ohlone College.

Announced jointly by College President Dr. Gari Browning and EBCF President & Chief Executive Officer Nicole Taylor, the computer and language lab will serve deaf and hard-of-hearing students, ASL learners and ASL interpreters enrolled in Deaf Studies courses at Ohlone.

"This donation provides a crucial opportunity for the ASL Language Lab to give our Deaf and ASL students intensive language interaction that contributes to academic language development and social change," said Dr. Genie Gertz, Dean of the Deaf Studies Division at Ohlone. "In turn, this donation makes a significant contribution not only to the Deaf community, but also to the general cultural life of the society in which we all live."

The gift came through the foundation, which received the money from the estate of Evelyn Henderson, a former teacher of deaf students.

"We're pleased that Evelyn Henderson trusted us to fulfill her wish to assist the post-secondary education of deaf students with her estate," said Taylor. "Because of East Bay Community Foundation's knowledge of and familiarity with programs and organizations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Ohlone College was promptly chosen as the recipient that could best utilize this grant to benefit the Deaf community."

It is anticipated that the facility will include 40 computer work stations and will serve more than 650 students who are enrolled in the Deaf Studies Division each year. The College hopes for the lab to begin serving students as early as fall 2010. The grant allows the College to move forward with its long -term plans to improve facilities for the Deaf Studies Division. Existing rooms will be modified into one large computer laboratory, complete with appropriate infrastructure and wiring to accommodate the technology and software to complete this project.

Evelyn Henderson was a former employee at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, before it moved to Fremont in 1980. The School for the Deaf offers instructional and support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students from early childhood through high school. It is a separate institution from the College's Deaf Studies program, but the two institutions partner on deaf-related educational issues.

According to her former husband, Malcolm Henderson, Evelyn Henderson began working at the School for the Deaf in the late 1940s after graduating from University of California at Los Angeles. She discovered that she had a facility for learning and using ASL, he said. She worked with high-school-level students for a number of years at the School for the Deaf, at the Arizona School for the Deaf and in Los Angeles public schools before health problems limited her teaching activities. She was 80 when she died.

Her estate, which she entrusted to the foundation, came from a family inheritance, Malcolm Henderson said.

Taylor noted that in addition to fulfilling the legacy of the late Evelyn Henderson, the grant also is consistent with the foundation's focus on education to advance economic opportunity for East Bay populations in need.

The funds from the East Bay Community Foundation will be paid to the Ohlone College Foundation, a 501c3 organization (non-profit status in the U.S. Internal Revenue code) that exists to provide scholarships and other funding support to assist students and broaden educational opportunities and programs at Ohlone College.

The East Bay Community Foundation ( connects community needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties with individuals, families and organizations interested in charitable giving —and acts as a catalyst for change through leading initiatives, through advocacy, and through partnerships with business, government, and private foundations. Formed in 1928, the Foundation is a leading resource on charitable giving and community needs, stewarding more than 400 charitable funds and endowments.


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