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NTID: The National Technical Institute for the Deaf: History of

By Cristy Smith
November 12, 2010


History of National Technical Institute for the Deaf

     In 1930, a Deaf teacher from the Minnesota school for the Deaf wrote, "A national technical institute for the deaf…located in a large manufacturing city, is what deaf young Americans need more than anything else…such an institution should include several buildings filled with modern machines, appliances, tools, materials, dormitories…a gymnasium, library, tennis courts, trees, shrubs, flowers, a director, a staff of competent instructors, and 500 students….A dream, yes, and a possibility." (Gustina 2) In 1965, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Act (Public Law 89-36) was signed into law by Lynden B. Johnson. This bill was to provide the establishment of a postsecondary institute for technical education for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. From there, over 20 colleges and universities around the country applied to host NTID on their campus. (Wikipedia 1)

     Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York was one of the institutions that applied. Rochester had a large Deaf community, and was very receptive to the idea of hosting an NTID. In 1966, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY was officially selected as the premiere NTID. (RIT-Overview)

     In 1967 Dr. D. Robert Frisina became the first director of NTID. A National Advisory Group was also appointed to assist Dr. Frisina in developing a sound educational program for the students. Dr. William E. Castle was the first dean of NTID, appointed in 1968, and during this time a pilot group of 70 deaf and hard of hearing students enrolled at the college. In 1969, NTID's first technical programs were offered. Included in these programs were architectural drafting, mechanical drafting, machine tool operation, and office practice and bookkeeping. A student interpreter training program was also established; this was the first school in history to offer a program such as this one. (RIT-Overview)

     The National Technical Institute for the Deaf continued to grow in Rochester, NY. More educational programs were developed, and more social opportunities such as Experimental Educational Theatre and Sunshine and Company (a theatrical outreach group) were available for people who were deaf or hard of hearing. (RIT-Overview)

     Today NTID is known as the world's first and largest technical college for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. It includes nine academic departments and programs, and ten different majors. NTID also offers a plethora of services for students. Some of the academic services include a Learning Consortium, which supports students' academic progress through tutoring, and through experimental instructional and access technology, and a Library for Deaf Students, which offers databases, websites, and other resources for information in Deaf Studies. There are also a large number of social clubs and activities that students are involved in such as athletics, theater, and other special interest clubs. (

The mission statement for NTID is:

     "To provide deaf and hard-of-hearing students with outstanding state-of-the-art technical and professional education programs, complemented by a strong liberal arts and sciences curriculum, that prepare them to live and work in the mainstream of a rapidly changing global community and enhance their lifelong learning." (Livadas 1)

     Every aspect of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, in Rochester, NY, promotes and supports this statement. NTID offers the cutting edge technology, services, and instructors to give those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, the best possible education.

Works Cited

Gustina, Donna. "History of NTID Interpreter." PEN-International. 23 Apr. 2007. Lecture.

Livadas, Greg. "RIT - NTID - FOCUS Magazine." RIT - National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. <>.

"National Technical Institute for the Deaf." Wikipedia. Web. 30 Sept. 2010. <>.

RIT - National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Web. 30 Sept. 2010. <>.

"RIT - Overview - History - National Technical Institute for the Deaf." Rochester Institute of Technology. Web. 5 Oct. 2010. <>.


For more about this topic see: NTID: The National Technical Institute for the Deaf


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