Robert Panara: Teacher and Pioneer of Deaf Studies to be Immortalized on a Stamp

Robert Panara

WHAT: First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony for the Robert Panara two-ounce Forever stamp. The event is free and open to the public.
WHO: U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer David Williams
President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and Rochester Institute of     Technology Vice President and Dean Dr. Gerard Buckley
NTID Instructional/Support Faculty member John Panara (son)
Stamp Photographer Mark Benjamin
Author and Professor Emeritus NTID Dr. Harry Lang
WHEN: Tue., Apr. 11 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Robert F. Panara Theatre
Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

The public may RVSP online at Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view live streaming video of the event at The media is asked to share the news on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #PanaraForever and #DeafEducation.

BACKGROUND: The Postal Service’s 16th stamp in the Distinguished Americans series honors Robert Panara (1920-2014), an influential teacher and a pioneer in the field of Deaf Studies. He inspired generations of students with his powerful use of American Sign Language to convey works of literature. At age 10, Panara was profoundly deafened after contracting spinal meningitis, which damaged his auditory nerves.

Panara taught English for two decades, beginning in 1948, at Gallaudet College (now University), in Washington, DC. In 1967, he helped found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and became its first deaf faculty member. He taught English to both deaf and hearing students at NTID, part of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York State for the next 20 years.

The two-ounce Forever stamp features a photograph of Panara signing the word “respect.” The issuance coincides with the 200th anniversary of the founding in 1817 of the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT — marking the beginning of formal education for deaf students in America.

Once purchased, the stamp is always good for mailing two-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future, regardless of price changes. The current price is 70-cents.