2017 70c Robert Panara
Robert Panara (1920-2014) was one of America’s leading deaf educators. His work helped pioneer the field and promote the idea that deafness is not a disability, but a different way to view the world.
Panara was born in 1920 in the Bronx. He lost his hearing at age 10 when he contracted spinal meningitis. Deaf education was nearly non-existent at the time so he relied on his classmates’ help to take notes while attending public school. It was around this time Panara learned to read lips, a skill he later became famous for.
In 1938, Panara graduated high school and went to learn sign language at the American School for the Deaf. He attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., from 1940 to 1945 and New York University in 1948, studying English and literature. While a graduate student at NYU, he taught English, U.S. history, literature, and algebra at the New York School for the Deaf. In 1949, Panara became a professor at Gallaudet University. He taught there for nearly 20 years before helping found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. While a professor, Panara also wrote several books, including one of poetry titled On His Deafness and Other Melodies Unheard.
Robert Panara was an accomplished teacher, poet and writer. To him, deafness was not a weakness, it was a strength he used to help make the world a better place.
Issued: April 11, 2017
First Day City: Rochester, NY
Type of Stamp: Two Ounce Rate
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Quantity Printed: 25,000,000
The USPS gave Robert Panara the honor of being the 16th represented in the Distinguished Americans Series on April 11, 2017.