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Retirement Announcement for Samuel Sonnenstrahl and Director of Alumni Relations Position Opening

Retirement Announcement for Samuel Sonnenstrahl and Director of Alumni Relations Position Opening

Samuel Sonnenstrahl, ’79 & G-’84, will be retiring from Gallaudet University this year.

Mr. Sonnenstrahl has been the Director of Alumni Relations since 2002. He is the third-ever director, succeeding Jack R. Gannon, ’59 & H-’88, and Mary Anne Pugin,’71. He took the position just one week before one of the world’s largest conventions of deaf people, Deaf Way II, in Washington, DC. As Mr. Sonnenstrahl recalls, it was like “being baptized by fire.” He has passionately served our alumni community since then, accumulating a wealth of knowledge and relationships that are deeply valuable to Gallaudet University.

As Myles Goldberg, ’16, Alumni Relations Specialist, said, “Sam is a walking history textbook for Gallaudet!” In addition to being a lifelong student of history, Mr. Sonnenstrahl’s ties to the university extend beyond his 18 years as Director. He first arrived on campus as a preschooler in 1959, and throughout his life, many of his family members have also been active members and supporters of Gallaudet University.

As Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) President Donalda Ammons, ’74, said, “Sam’s institutional knowledge is immeasurable on many levels. While we are thrilled for him and his well-deserved retirement, his departure leaves behind very few people on campus with his level of institutional knowledge.” 

Other highlights of Mr. Sonnenstrahl’s role as Director are a testament to his commitment and steady leadership. During his tenure, he oversaw the 2005 to 2007 renovation and preservation of Peikoff Alumni House, known as “Ole Jim.” He was heavily involved with Gallaudet’s 150th and the GUAA's 125th anniversary celebrations in 2014. 

He and his team coordinate and support homecoming reunions every year, and have expanded our Homecoming celebrations to include reunions for alumni of color, as well as classes celebrating their 55th, 60th and 65th anniversaries. As many will remember, he never fails to remind us to update our information for the alumni news and database. Most recently, he has been working diligently on updating the Gallaudet Almanac, a massive project that will be concluded in 2020. 

Abigail Drake, ’97 & G-’99, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations said, “In the last 12 years that I’ve worked with Sam, I have seen how he has earned high respect from the alumni. He has the ability to quickly consider the many perspectives and experiences of the alumni. He is often the ‘secret ingredient’ to successful events on campus. He holds the fort together even in times of crisis, and his hard work in advocating for the alumni perspective shows how he always commits to the alumni above everything else. Sam has a big heart for our community, creating a continuing sense of connection and home for our alumni all over the world.” 

We are grateful for Mr. Sonnestrahl’s many years of service. He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best with his upcoming retirement. Knowing Sam, he will continue to be an active member of our alumni community.

In preparation for his retirement, and in filling the big shoes he leaves behind, we are looking to hire a new Director of Alumni Relations. This position, by default, will also be the Executive Director of GUAA, serving as a key liaison between Gallaudet University and GUAA.

Therefore, Institutional Advancement and GUAA will be partnering together to find our next Director of Alumni Relations/Executive Director of GUAA.

Our next leader should be able to maintain strong relationships with our global and diverse alumni communities -- exhibiting the value of advancing Gallaudet’s mission in creating connections and opportunities for the deaf community to thrive. If you are this dynamic leader, we encourage you to consider applying for the role. Please check out the GU employment page

Sincerely,

Nick Gould, '09

Executive Director, Institutional Advancement 

Posted by Darrius Doe | Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:34 PM

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002