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Senator John McCain: A Staunch Ally of Gallaudet

black and white photo of Sen. John McCain III shaking hands with Greg Hlibok and handing him an envelope. In the background, several people look on.

August 26, 2018

Dear Campus Community:

We join the nation and the world in mourning the passing of Senator John Sidney McCain III. Most people knew Senator McCain as a naval aviator who was a prisoner of war for more than five years during the Vietnam conflict, and who went on to represent the state of Arizona in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He was also the Republican Party nominee for President in 2008.

Here at Gallaudet, we knew Senator McCain on a much more personal level. He supported us during the Deaf President Now movement in 1988. He was a strong advocate for three laws that benefited us then and now—the Telecommunications Enhancement Accessibility Act of 1988, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990. Senator McCain spoke vigorously on behalf of these bills on the Senate floor and during public rallies. He also was a frequent visitor to Kendall Green. In 1995, Senator McCain became a Public Member of our Board of Trustees, and served diligently for 11 years.

Recalls President Emeritus Dr. I. King Jordan, ’70 & H-’14: “Senator McCain was perhaps the most involved and active Public Member of the Board during my presidency. He attended and participated in meetings and also joined the board for dinners at House One. His involvement with people who are deaf and people with disabilities goes back before he became a Trustee. He had always been an advocate for the rights and abilities of people with disabilities and was among the strongest Senate supporters of the Americans with Disabilities Act. My wife, Linda, and I had the genuine pleasure of riding with Senator McCain onto the grounds of the White House and to the South Lawn for the ADA signing ceremony, an experience I will never forget.

“Senator McCain was truly a man of unquestioned integrity. One always knew where he stood on any position and knew that he would do all in his power to support the university and advance deaf people.”

Dr. Glenn B. Anderson, ’68 & H-’17, chair of the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2005, wrote, “I had heard about Senator McCain and seen him on television, but had never met him in person until he joined the Board. What is etched in my memory is the easy-going rapport he displayed with President Jordan and his warm regard for his fellow members of the Board of Trustees. It was readily evident that Senator McCain had a great deal of respect for Gallaudet and its role as the foremost institution of higher education for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

On behalf of our students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni, I convey our deep appreciation for everything that Senator McCain did on behalf of Gallaudet University and Deaf America. I ask that all flags on campus be displayed at half-staff until after his funeral. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Cindy; his children, Douglas, Andrew, Sidney, Meghan, John, James, and Bridget; and their families. May Senator McCain’s legacy endure forever.


Roberta J. Cordano

Posted by Andrew Greenman | Posted August 26, 2018 at 1:49 PM


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002