New Issue: Influential teacher Robert Panara commemorated on USPS stamp released today

Robert Panara, an influential teacher and a pioneer in the field of deaf studies, will be honoured with a new stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today in Rochester, N.Y.

A first-day ceremony will start at 10 a.m. in the Robert F. Panara Theatre at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), where Panara, who lost his hearing when he was about 10 years old due to a case of spinal meningitis, taught for 20 years. The institute is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

It’s the 16th stamp of the U.S. Distinguished Americans series.


Panara inspired generations of American students with his powerful use of American Sign Language to convey works of literature. He taught English for two decades, beginning in 1948, at Gallaudet College (now University), in Washington, D.C. In 1967, he helped found the NTID and became its first deaf faculty member. He taught English to both deaf and hearing students at NTID 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, Conn., marking the beginning of formal education for deaf students in America.

The non-denominated two-ounce U.S. Forever stamp will always be good for mailing two-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future, regardless of price changes. It has a current value of 70 cents.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with an existing photograph by Mark Benjamin, official photographer of the NTID.

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