Boyce R. Williams

Governmental advocate

Boyce Williams, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, was deafened as a teenager, a Gallaudet alumnus, and held an M.A. in Education from Columbia University. In 1945, he began his illustrious 38-year career with the federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (renamed the Rehabilitation Services Administration in 1967). He ultimately became director of the Deafness and Communicative Disorders Branch, pioneering initiatives to benefit Deaf clients—pushing for accessible services such as sign-language-fluent counselors, for example. Mary E. Switzer’s accession as Commissioner of OVR aided him tremendously. During the 15 years they worked together, numerous innovative programs were established: the National Theatre of the Deaf, RID, Captioned Films for the Deaf, Communicative Skills Program, the National Leadership Training Program at CSUN, and a network of postsecondary programs for deaf people, including NTID.

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