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 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.