Maryville College to host Deaf awareness event

April 25, 2012
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications

In recognition of Deaf History Month, Maryville College’s Sign Language Club is sponsoring Deaf Deaf World, an event organized to promote Deaf awareness, on Thurs., April 26. The free event will be held from 6 until 9 p.m., in rooms 102 and 103 of Bartlett Hall.

Attendees may come and go as they please. They will be asked to refrain from using their voices, but instead to use finger spelling or gestures to communicate if they are not already familiar with American Sign Language. Finger spelling cards and assistants will be available to aid people with this form of “silent communication,” according to club vice president Michelle Barnes, a senior American Sign Language and Deaf Studies major at the College.

“We are hoping to spread more knowledge about the Deaf community and some of the daily struggles they have with communicating,” Barnes explained. “We are also hoping to encourage people to feel more comfortable with something they may not understand. At Maryville College we are taught to stretch our minds; with this event, we are hoping to stretch minds about the Deaf culture and community.”

There will be some activity booths are planned for the event and will cover topics such as finger spelling, American Sign Language, signed English and oral/lip reading.

Maryville College is believed to be the first college or university in the United States to award the bachelor’s degree with a major in sign language interpreting. The program of study began in 1974 and since then has become nationally recognized. In the last 20 years, nearly all Maryville College interpreting majors who have pursued interpreting jobs have obtained them.

For more information on the upcoming events sponsored by the MC Sign Language Club please contact the club at or April Haggard, Associate Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies, at or 865.981.8149.