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The History Behind the National Center on Deafness
The seeds of the National Center on Deafness were planted more than 44 years ago on the site of the former San Fernando Valley College in Northridge, Los Angeles. The National Leadership Training Program (NLTP) was established on campus in 1962 by a federal grant to train administrative personnel concerned with rehabilitation of the deaf. NLTP projects introduced or reported innovations in areas such as total communication, community information and referral agencies. In 1964 the NLTP admitted its first two deaf students and provided them with interpreters and notetakers for full access to university classes.
By the 1970-71 academic year the entire curriculum of the college was opened to deaf and hard of hearing students. Services provided to ensure accessibility were interpreting, notetaking, and tutoring, and their cost was underwritten by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. The college continued to expand and develop, and on June 1, 1972, by action of the legislature and the Board of Trustees of the CSU, it was renamed California State University, Northridge. The deaf and hard of hearing student population grew steadily during the 1970s, as well as the need for qualified interpreters and notetakers. The Center on Deafness was established in 1972 as an administrative coordinating unit for the deaf programs on campus. At the same time, Campus Services for the Deaf was established as a sub unit to enable the program to meet student service needs.
By 1978 the achievements of the center's alumni and students had begun to have national impact and the name of the Center on Deafness was changed to the National Center on Deafness. With continued success came the need for a building more consistent with the status and character of the program. Planning began in the early 80's and 1989 saw the grand opening of Jeanne M. Chisholm Hall, a building generously donated by Grace Petri in memory of her sister. Today approximately 175 deaf and hard of hearing students attend CSUN each semester and register through the National Center on Deafness to receive services such as interpreting, realtime captioning, typewell, notetaking, tutoring and academic advisement.