Dr. Glenn B. Anderson is commonly known as the first Deaf African-American in the United States to earn his doctorate degree. Born and raised in the South Side of Chicago, he became deaf at the age of seven. Encountering barriers and obstacles during his childhood, his parents told him “you have to be twice as good as anyone else to be successful.” Dr. Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at what was then known as the Gallaudet College in 1968 and went on to earn his master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Arizona in 1970. He began his professional career after graduation in 1970 as a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor for the Michigan Rehabilitation Services in Detroit, MI. From1972 to 1975, he was the Coordinator of the Referral Counseling Program at New York University’s Deafness Research and Training Center and from 1975 to 1982, he worked at LaGuardia Community College (LaGCC) – City University of New York where he was instrumental in establishing the LaGCC Program for Deaf Adults, a continuing education program benefitting deaf adults interested in returning to school to further their education and/or to obtain two-year college degrees.
Glenn B. Anderson himself served as a role model for his students by continuing his education as well. In 1982, he earned his doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the New York University, making history. From 1982 to 2008, he served as Director of Training at the University of Arkansas Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing located in Little Rock, AR. He was also Professor in the University’s Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication Disorders, and served as Coordinator of the master’s degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling with Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. In 2008, he joined the Interpreter Education faculty within the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation and Adult Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).
In 1989, Dr. Anderson was appointed to the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet University, and in 1994, he became the second deaf person to be elected board chair and held that title for 12 years. At the 1994 Gallaudet University commencement proceedings, he presented an honorary degree to the then U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Dr. Anderson has spent many years of his contributions to professional and membership organizations such as: chair of the State Rehabilitation Council for Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, Little Rock Black Deaf Advocates, and Arkansas Association of the Deaf. An author, Dr. Anderson wrote the book/DVD Still I Rise! The Enduring Legacy of Black Deaf Arkansans Before & After Integration (2006). He continues his service to the Deaf Community as the current member of the Board of Directors of National Black Deaf Advocates.
Dr. Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards, including: induction into the American Athletic Association of the Deaf Hall of Fame (1992); Frederick C. Schreiber Leadership Award by the National Association of the Deaf (1994); Linwood Smith Humanitarian Award by the National Black Deaf Advocates (1995); induction into the Gallaudet University Athletic Hall of Fame (1995); appointed by the U.S. President to serve on the National Council of Disability (2002-2005) which he served as second vice-chair; induction into the National Hall of Fame for Persons with Disabilities (2004), and Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Black Deaf Advocates (2012).