Born and raised in the metro area of Newark, New Jersey. Profoundly deaf since infancy, he attended Bruce St. School for the Deaf in Newark and was later “mainstreamed” in neighbourhood schools. Roger and his family relocated to West Hartford, Connecticut, where he completed his high school education in 1967.
Roger attended Drew University in New Jersey for a couple of years before transferring to Gallaudet University where he obtained a BEd Degree in history in 1972. While at Gallaudet, Roger became the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Buff and Blue and met his future bride, Michelle Desrosiers, from Regina, Saskatchewan.
After their marriage in 1972, Michelle returned to Regina with her groom in tow, and they eventually settled in Edmonton in 1973, where Roger worked for the City of Edmonton as a historical researcher, and became quite involved in the planning and development of Fort Edmonton Park which opened in 1974, and rose to become the head of the historical research section there.
In 1981, Roger left the employ of the City to take on a new challenge: conducting the Alberta Survey of the Hearing Impaired for the Government of Alberta, which eventually came under the oversight of Dr. Michael Rodda at the University of Alberta. After the completion of the survey, Dr. Rodda invited Roger to work with him on another new project, the development of the Western Canadian Centre of Specialization in Deafness and the Peikoff Chair of Deaf Studies. Both Roger and Dr. Rodda worked together in the development of the proposal and in fundraising for the Chair and were successful. Roger became the Assistant (and later Acting) Coordinator of WCCSD. He also became an instructor in the Interpreter Training program at Grant MacEwan College.
While at the University of Alberta, Roger earned his MEd in Special Education specializing in hearing impairment in 1989. In 1990 Roger left the employ of the University to become the Executive Director (and later Director of Programs and Services) of the Deaf Children’s Society of B.C. Vancouver, where he served for 11 years. While in Vancouver, he was a sessional Instructor in the teacher preparation program in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education at the University of British Columbia and an instructor in Douglas College’s Interpreter Preparation Program.
After leaving DCS, he accepted a couple of contracts with the Canadian Association of the Deaf to conduct two nationwide research projects on early childhood services to deaf children and published a couple of books arising from these projects. He later became an English instructor in Vancouver Community College’s Program for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing for several years until 2007. He also enrolled in Trinity Western University’s seminary where he earned a diploma in Christian Studies in 2004.
He and Michelle relocated to Saskatoon in 2007, and Roger became the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.
Roger has also been actively involved in advocacy for human rights and better educational opportunities for the deaf on the local and national levels and published numerous papers on such topics over the past four decades. His area of focus has largely been on promoting better literacy development in young deaf and hard of hearing persons.
Roger was also the Editor in Chief of two national publications for the deaf – The Deaf Canadian magazine and The Canadian Journal of the Deaf.
Roger and Michelle are the proud parents of two sons and grandparents of six grandchildren.
“When I first learned from Debbie Russell that an award would be established in my name, my first reaction was “why me?” – surely there were others who were more deserving of this honour. I could name a few: Dave Mason, Linda Cundy, and so on. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Michael Rodda deserves a special mention. He and I shared a vision about what could be possible for Deaf and hard of hearing students at the University of Alberta, and he stuck his neck out and fought to secure a foothold for Deaf and hard of hearing students on the campus.
Education, especially literacy, is the most precious gift for Deaf and hard of hearing students and I’m passionate about it. I’ve said over and over again that literacy, by focusing on their strengths, opens up the world for Deaf and hard of hearing students and is the key to admission into institutions of higher learning such as the University of Alberta for them. Nevertheless, they will continue to experience barriers and would need a leg up in getting through their studies.
This is why I am proud to have my name associated with this award. I would like to state that I have consented to this on behalf of many other Deaf and hard of hearing persons who have worked with me over the years, without whose support the Western Canadian Centre for Deaf Studies and the Peikoff Chair would not have been possible. As I look back, I am gratified that the University of Alberta continues to support these programs and the aspirations of the Deaf community after a quarter-century.
I wish to thank the University of Alberta and the Faculty of Education for this honor and urge the community to contribute to it
- Roger Carver, November 13, 2010