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(Video: Robert F. Panara – A Profile)

Robert and Shirley Panara. 07/21/2014.

Robert and Shirley Panara. 07/21/2014.

Robert F. Panara (Bob), a pioneer at Rochester Institute of Technology as the first deaf professor has passed away. He was the person that the Panara Theater was named after and founder of NTID Drama Club. In honor of Bob Panara, here’s a short list of things he accomplished during his life.

  • Was hired in 1967 to help establish NTID on RIT campus.

  • For nearly 20 years, he captured the attention of students with his poetry and literature interpretations.

  • The Performing Arts Theater at NTID named after him in 1988 when he retired. The Theatre opened its doors on October 3, 1974 with a production of Shakespeare’s Taming the Shrew.

  • Gained recognition for profound impact on the NTID creative arts program.

  • One of the founders for NTD (National Theater of the Deaf) in the 1960’s

  • Was extremely devoted to baseball and got to meet Babe Ruth.

  • Wrote a biography called, “Teaching From the Heart and Soul

  • Married to his wife, Shirley for 56 years before she died in 2003.

  • Son, John Panara followed his footsteps and teaches English at NTID/RIT

Robert Panara. 07/21/2014.

Robert Panara. 07/21/2014.

The community is saying goodbye to a man who has impacted us in many ways. He was a teacher, author, actor, poet, husband, and father. Robert F. Panara was not only the RIT’s first deaf faculty member, he was also a key player in many aspects that are still alive at the college today. The NTID English department had the honor of having him as a founder and first chairman. He was also the founder and director of NTID’s Experimental Education Theatre program. There is much to say about this man who has brought the love of acting, poetry, writing, and creative work to the community in a way he believed was the only way to do it, he taught from the heart and soul.

Written by Mary Pat Withem
Follow her on Twitter @mpwithem