Gallaudet University announced the appointment of two new members of its Board of Trustees: Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter, PhD ’85, and Dr. Gina A. Oliva, G-’77.
Gina Oliva was nominated to the Board by the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, replacing Dr. Harvey Goodstein. Gina has been involved with issues of importance to Gallaudet since her arrival to the campus in 1971. While a senior at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., she spent her final baccalaureate year as a visiting undergraduate at Gallaudet. Her subsequent 36 years at Gallaudet included work in Student Affairs, Outreach, the Office of the President, and the Department of Physical Education. In all of these units she provided leadership with innovative ventures.
Gina’s national impact began in the late 1980’s with the development and dissemination of visual cues, based on ASL principles, for use in group exercise classes. She trained instructors all over the United States in the use of these cues – many of which can still be observed in “Zumba” and similar classes today. For this work she was named one of ten “Healthy American Fitness Leaders” in 1989 by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.
Her national impact continued with the publication of her first book, Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School (GU Press, 2004). This established her as a leading advocate for deaf and hard of hearing students in general education settings. In 2014 she published, together with Dr. Linda Risser Lytle, a second book, Turning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren. In the same year, Oliva was named to the Board of the American Society for Deaf Children where she continues today as an officer.
Oliva holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington College, a Master’s degree in Counseling from Gallaudet, and a Ph.D. in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Maryland.
Kerstetter and Oliva bring their extensive experiences in higher education to Gallaudet and are committed towards transformational leadership. Wisdom gained from their respective experiences over the years, coupled with their strong leadership skills, will provide essential components to the university during this pivotal time in our history.