The first one come to mind which is the most famous in the lore of Gallaudet University is Dr. Brueggemann who used her voice at Gallaudet University's graduation ceremony. She was a last minute replacement for Celia May Baldwin after she resigned from her position because of threats against her by some nutty pro-DPN2 protesters. She was wrongfully scorned for her actions because people simply did not know the true story of why she spoke instead of signed at the May 12, 2006 graduation ceremony.
And had I had any time to actually prepare my remarks for the GU graduation last May, I probably would have signed them more or at least part of them. But I didn't have that prep time. I was dropped into the Acting Chair's position on May 10, to be exact--once CM Baldwin resigned. And I was handed the remarks she was supposed to deliver (already scripted) for graduation on May 12. In fact, they didn't even give me the script until the morning of May 12. And it still had her name at the top of it! So, using oral/spoken English, I could feel comfortable enough to develop a few of my own "touches" in the prepared script. But I sure couldn't do that trying to use ASL....Dr. Brueggemann received hell for using her voice at Gallaudet University, mostly from bloggers and those who contributed to the discussion about her. You can watch her commencement speech video starting at 45:15.
Next is Michael Chorost, a well known cochlear implantee born with a hearing loss, who spoke at Gallaudet University in March 21, 2007 yet no outrage for this guy although he did sign his introductory name.
Next is another (unknown) person named "Bobby W." who claimed to have used his voice in 2006 to defend his student teaching experience for his degree at Gallaudet University:
If it makes you feel any better at the height of the campus scandal in 2006 while I was defending my student teaching experience for my degree from Gallaudet in front of the Education Department. I also choose to use my voice to do so. I used ASL for the answering/question session but the actual defense I used my voice. Imagine defending an education degree from Gallaudet University orally. Im sure I was the FIRST to ever do so.And then, of course, myself when I used my voice while I was one of the several panel members at Gallaudet University's first ever vlogging/blogging conference in 2007 that was televised live in front of an internet audience and the audience that were physically present. Most people, I think, were quite receptive of my decision to use my voice compared to Dr. Brueggemann.
I received a few funny looks from my peers and a few of the EDU professors but It was a success...
In a space of about a year from 2006 to 2007 four different people who are deaf or hard of hearing used their voice in front of an audience on the campus of Gallaudet University as far as I know. Could it be a start of a trend? I'm sure there may have been a few more examples of that since then so does anybody know other deaf/hh people who did use their voice in front of an audience on the campus of Gallaudet University? And if so, how did people respond? Looking back, why did people respond differently to each of those four different people I just mentioned? Will the future see more people deciding to use their voice instead of signing as a choice?
UPDATE: I came across another individual ( a 1975 Gallaudet University alumnus) who did an oral defense at Alliant International University (and not at Gallaudet) as described in Gallaudet University's alumni news page. But note the irony on the study of the defense was about:
'75 - Joe McLaughlin passed the oral defense for his doctoral dissertation, "Sign Language Interpreter Shortage in California: Perceptions of Stakeholders," at Alliant International University in San Francisco, Calif. in January. McLaughlin received his Ed.D. degree in higher education in June.