Alumni Corner: Dr. Harry Lang

Posted by WPSDAA on Jun 7, 2011 in Alumni Corner, History, News

Harry Lang’s life path changed suddenly from a factory worker to a math and science teacher when as a junior high student in Irwin, Pennsylvania, Dr. Lang’s woke from a coma due to meningitis.

“That’s probably where I would’ve ended up, if I had not become profoundly deaf,” said Lang.  “I thank WPSD for preparing me well for a life as an academic.”

Upon graduation from WPSD in 1965, he attended Bethany College in West Virginia earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics in 1969.  He then became a Physics teacher for 20 years at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).  While working at RIT, he earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at RIT and his doctorate in Education in Science Curriculum from the University of Rochester.

For seven years, Harry directed the Office of Faculty Development at NTID while teaching courses in science and math education.  Currently, Harry is a faculty member in the Master in Science program in Secondary Education of students who are Deaf or hard of hearing at RIT/NTID.

During his career at RIT, Harry wrote ten books and more than 50 chapters and research and theoretical papers on teaching science and mathematics to Deaf students.  One of the books he wrote was about the history of WPSD!  He’s currently working on a book focusing on the Deaf experience during the Civil War era.

Harry received the RIT Outstanding Teacher Award in 1984.  In 2006, he received the RIT Trustees Award for his outstanding record in academic scholarship.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 38 years, Bonnie, playing tennis.  He will be retiring this June after nearly 41 years of instruction at RIT/NTID.  Dr. Lang has served as a member of the Board of Trustees at WPSD for 23 years and his respect for WPSD remains strong.  He believes that our current Chief Executive Officer, Don Rhoten, is the best thing that has happened to WPSD in its 142-year history. “Don [and Cathy] have done so much to enhance WPSD as a model for other schools,” he says.  “Because of their hard work, and the work of the many staff at WPSD, the school has a great future, one of collaboration with other school programs, both schools for the Deaf and mainstream.”

His advice to WPSD students is to read as much as possible and to never give up when something seems difficult or challenging.  “Be proud of yourself as a Deaf individual,” Harry says.  “Our history is filled with successful Deaf people in the sciences, arts, business professions, and various trades.”  There are Deaf writers, actors, and experts in many fields.  His books have often highlighted the accomplishments of Deaf people.

WPSD congratulates Dr. Harry Lang on his imminent retirement this summer, and his achievements throughout his long, distinguished career in education, writing, and most importantly, his continued contributions to WPSD.

This article is published on page 19 in The Western Pennsylvanian, Spring 2011 Volume 123, Number 3

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