Listening Is An Act Of Love

Rochester is home to the largest deaf population per capita in the United States. It is also home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Thanks to RIT-NITD and Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, the MobileBooth East team was able to meet and learn from members of this diverse and dynamic community.

Bob Panara

Bob Panara

Bob Panara was NTID’s first deaf faculty member when the school opened in 1968 and founded its English and Theater departments. He became deaf as a young child. Bob loved baseball, so his father once arranged to introduce him to Babe Ruth in hopes that the shock would restore his hearing. It didn’t, but Bob remains an avid baseball enthusiast and is attempting to get a former deaf baseball player, Dummy Hoy, into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his great playing record and for inventing the hand signals still used today in baseball.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

Bob was interviewed by NTID Media Relations Director Greg Livadas who also arranged an interview with Paul and Sally Taylor.

Sally Taylor

Sally Taylor

Paul and Sally have been married more than 40 years. About five years ago they decided to get cochlear implants. This journey was documented by their hearing daughter, Irene Brodsky Taylor, and made into a film Hear and Now.

Todd Gordon and Scott Fearing

Todd Gordon and Scott Fearing

Another participant, Todd Gordon, is a recent graduate from the NTID. His partner, Scott Fearing, who is hearing, is the program director at Gay Alliance. They talked about how text messaging has changed the way many deaf people communicate. They also compared the experience of coming out as deaf with coming out as gay.

Alan Hurwitz

Alan Hurwitz

NTID President Alan Hurwitz recorded his story with the help of interpreter, Jim Orr. Alan was born deaf and earned an engineering degree without the aid of interpreters. He’s been a part of NTID for almost all of the college’s 41-year history. Alan has seen firsthand the changes in education for deaf students over the years and how technological advances have improved education.

Jim Orr

Jim Orr


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2 Responses to “Listening Is An Act Of Love”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • Thank you for sharing all these inspiring stories, Jeremy! I’m thrilled to see that the stars of the Sundance winner “Hear and Now” made it to the StoryCorps booth.

    Comment from Christa on August 7, 2009 at 10:20 am - Reply to this Comment
  • I’d just like to say that Mr. Panara’s story was one of the most touching StoryCorp pieces I’ve ever heard. I’ve listened to it a bunch of times, and as a life-long baseball fan whose first game was with my father at Yankee Stadium, I have to say that it makes me cry every time.

    I’d like Mr. Panara to know how much I appreciate his story.

    Russ Cobb
    Harrisville, NH

    Comment from Russ Cobb on July 31, 2009 at 10:23 pm - Reply to this Comment

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