Eric MacDawutey

Keeping a determined eye on his goals, Eric MacDawutey is focusing on success and achieving it through hard work.

“My goal is to become a leading deaf role model,” asserts MacDawutey. “Deaf Africans do not believe they can become successful. The reason is the absence of deaf role models. I hope to change that.”

MacDawutey was born in Tema, Ghana, an industrial port city on West Africa’s Gold Coast. At age 6, he was stricken with spinal meningitis, which left him profoundly deaf in both ears.

“From then on,” says MacDawutey, “schools presumed that a person like me with a disability is a burden on the school.”

MacDawutey’s family was determined to keep their son in mainstream schools, even though there was no access to sign language or speech-language professionals or other students who were deaf.

“My interest since grade school was writing,” says MacDawutey. “I loved reading great books as well and writing short stories and poems.”

His interest in business started in high school. “When the time came for me to select a college to attend,” says MacDawutey, “I chose RIT over other colleges in the world because RIT gives equal opportunities to every deaf and hard-of-hearing person in a mainstream environment. Here students are free to learn without prejudice and stereotyping.”

When he graduates and returns to Ghana, MacDawutey will take with him the can-do attitude he’s cultivating at RIT.

“There are many smart deaf people in Ghana,” MacDawutey emphasizes, “but they are limited academically, and that affects their employability. I will encourage them to consider RIT/NTID.

“Deaf Ghanaians, or any people, deaf or hearing, should not wait for the cat to jump and watch which way it goes. Instead they should make the cat jump and move toward the direction they set for it.”

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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