Happy 150th Charter Day, Gallaudet University!
On April 8, 1864, President Lincoln signed a bill into law, to allowing Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind to confer college degrees.
In 1954, the name of the the school was changed Gallaudet College in honor of its first superintendent, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Gallaudet was granted university status in October 1986 through an act of Congress.
The first three students received their diplomas in June of 1869. President Ulysses S. Grant signed them, beginning a tradition that continues to this day. The diplomas of Gallaudet graduates are signed by the President who is currently in office.
Charter for the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind [now called Gallaudet University], Record Group 11, National Archives