Deaf Olympics 2008 Diver Chris Colwill

The 2008 Olympics included a Deaf diver. I present to you a bio for Chris Colwill, formerly of Florida, now living in Georgia. ¬†Unfortunately, Chris did not win any medals, but he represented well and I hope we’ll see him again at the ’12 summer olympics. Continue reading


Gallaudet Easter Campers of 1903

When I attended Gallaudet in the late 80’s and early 90’s, whenever we’d get a long weekend, some of us boys would get a convoy of trucks and vans filled up with camping gear and head up to the mountains at Deep Creek Lake or Sugar Mountain, or attend Timberfest camping festivals in Pennsylvania or even just take a overnight trek to one of the local state parks such as the one in Green Belt, Maryland, where my sleeping bag once lit up in smoldering flames as I snuggled too close to the fire. But that’s another story. Today I have a real treat for you: a story from the April 26, 1903 Washington Times titled SPRINGTIME CAMP OF THE GALLAUDET COLLEGIANS. Camping has a long tradition at Gallaudet, going back to the 1860’s. If today’s Gallaudet students are not camping together, they’re missing out on some good times and losing a long honored tradition! Continue reading

Obit: Jonathan Hall, Son of Percival Hall, Gallaudet’s 2nd President

An Engaging Teacher, Whether In the Classroom or With Pets
By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 16, 2008; C08

There is no evidence that Jonathan Hall’s Labrador retrievers were smarter than any other dogs — they only seemed that way. From his earliest years, Hall was surrounded by a menagerie of dogs, hamsters, chameleons and even tame rats that he trained to do all sorts of unexpected things.

“Our dogs all could balance a cracker on their nose, toss it up in the air and catch it,” recalled one of his daughters, Stephanie Hall.

He taught the dogs to bark in a whisper, to shake hands and to say “yes” by nodding their heads. (As much as he tried, though, Hall could never get them to shake their heads “no.”) He also trained them to retrieve his hat and keys, which proved useful when he couldn’t remember where he’d put them.

But his dogs’ most remarkable skill may have been their ability to understand American Sign Language. Hall was a professor of biology and natural sciences at Gallaudet University for almost 40 years, and his talented dogs were among the many tricks of his teaching trade. They responded to sign-language commands, much to his students’ amusement, and when Hall spelled out the words “lie down,” the dogs would do just that.

Jonathan Hall

Jonathan Hall, shown in about 1930, had a lifelong interest in science, which he taught at Gallaudet University. A daughter described him as an “adventurer-scholar.”

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