SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas,
holds the distinction of being the first—and so far the only—postsecondary
institution for Deaf people to be founded and headed by a Deaf person—Douglas
Burke. A veteran administrator who established numerous programs for Deaf people
(including the Miss Deaf America Pageant), Burke saw a definite need for a
self-contained program for Deaf students in Texas and surrounding states who
weren’t “Big Three” material, had learning disabilities, or simply wanted to
attend a college-level program nearby. The
story of SWCID’s founding is one of extraordinary luck—or, as Burke preferred
to see it, one miracle after another. SWCID recently renamed its administration
Dr. Burke’s memory, while honoring his wife, Beatrice Burke, herself a veteran
professor and administrator.
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