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Thanking Dr. Beth Benedict for her service

Thanking Dr. Beth Benedict for her service

Dr. Beth Sonnenstrahl Benedict, ’80 & PhD-’03, is retiring on June 30, culminating an illustrious career in deaf education, communication studies, and enrollment management. Her last virtual day in the office is today, May 22.

Dr. Benedict has served as Executive Director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach since 2015, and has raised the profile of that office and the university through her strong, stable, calm leadership; her innovation, her creative approach to problem-solving, her ability to engage with and inspire people to achieve the highest standards of customer service and excellence, her rapport with prospective students and their families, and her vast network of contacts throughout the nation and the world.

Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach staff were enthusiastic in their praise of Dr. Benedict’s leadership. Wrote Tami Santimyer, G-’05, Coordinator of Feeder Schools and VR Outreach, “More than a boss! You have always treated our team with respect, led us with transformational vision, and given us the direction we need.” Derrick Williams, ’10, Coordinator of Enrollment Systems, said, “Beth served as a great champion for all of our initiatives and projects that ultimately led to the success of our department. Her leadership and unwavering support towards each one of us will be greatly missed.” Wrote Vivienne Schroeder, ’09 & G-’11, Coordinator of Enrollment Communications, “Passion for and dedication to our students is what made Beth stand out. I was fortunate enough to have taken one of her classes when I was a student, and to have had her as my direct supervisor for the last year. As a student I felt valued by Beth, and that feeling did not change when I started to report to her directly. She is an incredible mentor, and will be sorely missed.” 

Dr. Benedict’s association with the university spanned seven decades, as a Kendall School student, undergraduate and doctoral student, employee at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, faculty member, and administrator. 

Dr. Benedict was a tenured faculty member in the Communication Studies program in the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre from 2004 to this year. She taught both theory and practice courses and advised numerous students. She was also engaged with the university community in many ways, serving on numerous shared governance groups, task forces, and committees. She served for four years as advisor to the Class of 2009, and also advised the Graduate Student Association.

A nationally-renowned expert on early childhood education, Dr. Benedict taught many related undergraduate and graduate courses and supervised students in the Department of Education. She created, developed courses for, and served as coordinator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and their Families: Collaboration and Leadership Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program. She also initiated a program, with support from the Department of Education and the undergraduate and graduate student governments, in which students accompanied her and other faculty to the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) annual meeting. Her student-driven panels were among the most well-attended programs at this meeting. Inspired by Dr. Benedict, many students embarked on careers in early childhood education, family education, and educational administration. 

The mother of two adult deaf daughters, both Gallaudet alumni, Dr. Benedict was a long-time board member of the American Society for Deaf Children, and served as that organization’s vice president, president, and past president. She was also a board member of the Council on Education of the Deaf. Closer to home, Dr. Benedict served on the Education Committee of the Maryland School for the Deaf Board of Trustees and the Maryland Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program Advisory Council. She consulted on a wide variety of topics to many schools and programs across the nation. She also served as chair and vice chair of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, a multidisciplinary coalition with members from the medical, audiology, speech and language pathology, and education communities.

Dr. Benedict authored numerous articles, book chapters, and books, and made over 100 invited presentations nationally and worldwide. Even today, she continues to be in demand as a presenter and consultant. 

Dr. Benedict received numerous awards during her career, including the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EDHI Excellence, the CEASD Robert R. Davila Award of Merit, and the National Association of the Deaf William C. Stokoe Scholarship, the Randall McClelland Memorial Award and the Knights of the Flying Fingers Award. Early in her career at Gallaudet, she was named Staff Member of the Year at Clerc Center. The 2011 Tower Clock yearbook was dedicated to her.  In 2015, she received both the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Award and recognition at Commencement as the university’s Distinguished Faculty Member.

We thank Dr. Benedict for her lifelong dedication to Gallaudet and its mission, and wish her well!

Posted by Darrius Doe | Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:59 AM

Gallaudet

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Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002