Dr Robert Davila was born in southern California to Mexican parents who worked in fields and orchards. At the age of 8, he contracted spinal meningitis and became deaf. When his mother learned about a school for the deaf in northern California, she sent Roberto (his childhood name) alone on a journey to the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley (which later moved to California School for the Deaf, Fremont).
Dr Robert Davila graduated from Gallaudet University, with a Bachelor’s in Education. Dr Robert Davila then went to Hunter College with a Master’s in Special Education. To complete his education, he attended and graduated from Syracuse University with a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Dr Robert Davila also has received honorary degrees from Gallaudet, RIT, Stonehill College, and Hunter College.
Dr Robert Davila served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the United States from 1989 to 1993 during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Educationally, Dr Robert Davila has experience teaching high school math, being an assistant principal, serving as a K-12 superintendent. Dr Robert Davila worked as professor, a college administrator and Vice President of Gallaudet University in the 1970s and ’80s. Dr Robert Davila was headmaster of the New York School for the Deaf at White Plains 1993 to 1996 as well as CEO of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf 1996 from 2006. On 10 December, 2006 Robert Davila was named Interim President of Gallaudet, enacted at the start of 2007.
Dr Robert Davila is the 9th president of Gallaudet University, the world’s only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Dr Robert Davila’s appointment came after the wake of the Unity for Gallaudet Movement protests of 2006, when many students, staff, and alumni objected to the installation of president-designate Jane Fernandes. Although he is officially the university’s 9th president, the Board of Trustees has limited his term to 18-24 months.
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