Saturday, January 17, 2009

Keller Director Retires

Bob Smithdas is retiring as director of community education at the Helen Keller National Center in New York. The 83-year-old helped to persuade Congress to fund the Center during the 1960’s. The first deaf-blind man to earn a college degree, Smithdas finished schooling at St. John's University nearly half a century after Helen Keller got her bachelor's from Radcliffe. He went on to receive a master’s degree from New York Univeristy. Meningitis cost Smithdas his sight and hearing as a child. Among the speakers gathered to honor him at Friday’s retirement luncheon was talk show host Barbara Walters.