It wasn't until graduate school that Jane Fernandes first encountered sign language.
Born deaf, she has been taught to speak, to lip-read, and to "pass" in the hearing world, the News & Observer of Raleigh, NC, reports.
Now, as president of the small but prestigious Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, she is popular among the students and is navigating difficult economic times.
“People are frankly inspired by her,” says Ed Winslow, a Greensboro lawyer who is chair of the college's Board of Trustees.
Fernandes grew up as one of a number of deaf family members; her mother was deaf from birth, and her brother was hearing impaired.
Her mother taught her to read lips and speak, rather than taking her to be taught with other deaf children.
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