The American Society of the University of Haifa hosted a celebration to honor Professor Carol Padden, Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, for her acceptance of a Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, from the University of Haifa at the Board of Governors’ Meeting last summer.
More than forty friends and colleagues of Professor Padden gathered in the Faculty Club on the UCSD campus on March 8. Yariv Sultan, VP, Development and External Relations of the University of Haifa, was on hand to present Professor Padden with a customized elegant “Memory Book”, prepared in Haifa, that chronicled her entire Honorary Degree experience during the festivities and ceremonies on Mt Carmel last June.
Professor Padden is a linguist whose research focuses on the unique structure and evolution of sign languages—how they differ from spoken language and from each other—and on the specific social implications of signed communication.
“Professor Padden is one of a select group of outstanding academics, business and government leaders and internationally renowned creative artists to receive a prestigious Honorary Degree from the University of Haifa,” said Karen Berman, Chief Executive Officer of the American Society.
“We are pleased and honored to be able to celebrate this special achievement with her friends and colleagues on the campus where she has distinguished herself as an innovative teacher and perceptive, ground-breaking researcher and author for more than 30 years.”
Professor Padden’s research has illuminated our understanding of sign language, the culture of deaf people, and the development of human language in general. She has collaborated frequently with researchers at both the Sign Language Research Laboratory and the Faculty of Education at the University of Haifa and has done pioneering research on sign-language in the Bedouin community.
Amos Shapira, President of the University of Haifa, noted Prof. Padden’s ability to excel regardless of the obstacles in the Honorary Degree certificate: “Professor Padden inspires us through her achievements as a person and as a deaf woman – achievements that are praiseworthy for recognizing that departures from the usual are not handicaps, but opportunities for understanding the inherent value of diversity in the human condition.”
In 2010, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named Professor Padden a recipient of its so-called “genius” grant for her pioneering work in the morphology and evolution of American Sign Language. She has also been the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a UCSD Chancellor’s Associates Outstanding Faculty award and a Laurent Clerc Cultural Award for distinguished contributions to the field of deafness.
Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education and the Spencer Foundation.