Tuesday, March 9, 2010

O & B: Honor Ellie Rosenfield as name for Tower C dorm

Hello Orange & Brown Community:

I would like to inform you of some very sad news. Ellie (name sign "E" with "don't know" motion) Rosenfield, who worked as assistant Dean (picture of Ellie appears) this past Sunday, died. She has departed. We are deeply affected and sad but we have been thinking, as have other people (faculty, students, friends, alumni and community members) and we propose that we make a lasting tribute to Ellie Rosenfield. You recall how Tower C has had one name removed and no new name has replaced it. Also, the controversial plaque that was up came down but nothing has yet been put up. It is our thoughts that Ellie is the PERFECT person who should be memorialized in a new plaque. She was there for us as an advocate - an active member of our community interacting with faculty, staff, students, and community members across the land. We want to remember her 35 years of service to NTID with a plaque in Ellie's honor.

Why we feel Ellie is so deserving of such an honor is because:
  • she was a tireless ally and advocate who gave her whole heart to seeing Deaf people as a whole - this applied to faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members - she truly encouraged them to stand up for themselves and boosted their confidence in their major, careers, and socialization. Really a wonderful ally who inspired so many people.

  • secondly, she encouraged NTID to be a signing environment - people should be signing as they go to and from different places making it a welcoming and open environment. This means that Ellie recognized ASL as a language right for Deaf people to be used in this setting. Ellie invested years and years of fostering signing in open places. We thank her for encouraging signing in our NTID community.

  • thirdly, she was very motivated to attend the Deafhood workshop. She took her seat and soaked in all the information and shared her thoughts on it - please go to this link to see Ellie's reflections on what she experienced from this workshop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-fvNw3gwfg (see :32 sec)

Clip of Ellie signing "I really want to thank you, thank you, thank you. It was inspiring. It was so wonderful and clear - delivered in beautiful sign language and the information is so crucial for all of us. Thank you very much. ILY."

  • Ellie rolled up her sleeves and rallied Deaf faculty, students and alumni to host workshops on audism - oppression resulting from the belief that to hear and speak is superior to being Deaf. She encouraged faculty, staff, students and alumni to attend screenings of the film "Audism Unveiled" and attend workshops. Her advocacy was THERE! We are so touched by this - her actions mean so much to our community.

We, the Orange & Brown Community, want to honor Ellie by having a plaque up and the dorm re-named in her honor so as people go to and from in Tower C - they will see it and remember or learn for the first time all the wonderful things she has done - her good heart, her sweetness, her strong encouragement and advocacy. Really wonderful. We really will miss Ellie. If you think as we do - that the dorm should be named in her honor and a plaque should be mounted, please put down your name and we will bring the proposition to the RIT community. Thank you.

Orange & Brown Coalition


Robb said...

Thank you so much to the Orange and Brown Coalition for your heartfelt tribute to Ellie. Yes, she was an inspiration to many, many people over the years. Her heart was here at NTID. The idea of naming a place at NTID for her is a wonderful idea. Other people have been making suggestions and conversations are underway. I encourage anyone with an idea for remembering and recognizing Ellie to please send them my way, too. I am collecting ideas and hope to involve the wider NTID/RIT community, and Ellie's family, in the discussion. Your ideas are most appreciated. And thanks again to the Orange and Brown Coalition for bring this discussion out into the open!

Robb Adams

Anonymous said...

Do we post our names here for the petition?

Emily said...

I am Ellie's sister Carol Weiss from Cleveland. We received a visit during our shiva (mourning) period from a graduate of RIT (I can get name if you need) with his mother from Kent, Ohio who said he had hoped to give Ellie the great news that he had accepted a job or paid internship with Microsoft and said that Ellie's encouragement was a big part in making it possible. There was also another graduate to visit who raved about the wonderful influence Ellie had on so many students. I believe putting her name on a plaque will be an ispiration for others to be strong advocates for deaf and hard of hearing students throughout their academic lives. I hope this vote helps your cause!

I am truly privileged to have had Ellie as my sister and sounding board for 54 years.


Anonymous said...

I am Nancy Sogg, Ellie's older sister. I have been deeply touched by the overwhelming response to our dear sister's untimely death by the NTID community. Carol mentioned the tearful and heartfelt visits we had yesterday from Clevelanders who had attended NTID and were devastated by not being able to communicate with Ellie. We are anxious to spend time with all of you in Rochester soon. Thank you for suggesting this lasting tribute to Ellie. We miss her so much.

Orange and Brown Coalition said...

Robb - O & B supports the plans to honor Ellie in the SDC and looks forward to learning more about them.

Anon - you may contact Robb at the email address above

Carol - thank you for the vote in favor of a plaque in Ellie's honor.

Nancy - thank you for your words - "untimely" and "devastating" - those are exactly how many of us in the Rochester community are feeling.

We wish you both safe travels to Rochester in April and thank you for sharing your sister with us.

Please see the next post in this website by clicking the top banner, where NTID plans for honoring Ellie are explained by interim president, Jim DeCaro.

About Orange Brown Coalition

Mission: To share with the RIT community about Deaf Culture (language, history, humor, etc.) and related activities.

To facilitate relationships between Deaf and hearing members of the RIT community through awareness of our cultures.

To provide opportunities for self-empowerment and self-advocacy of Deaf people on campus.

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