I graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1960. During my freshman year at URI, I fortunately met “Duke” Germano, who later broke new ground, becoming the first blind student to graduate from URI. In the 50s, it was unusual to go to school with a handicapped person. Germano was not the only one learning during those years. His friends, fellow-students, professors, and school administrator were all learning about living with people with disabilities from their interactions with Germano. Here’s one example –
“During his freshman year, Duke was following a sidewalk, practicing his route to classes. He accidentally bumped into Dean Quinn, the university’s dean of men. Quinn told him to watch where he was going, to which Duke replied, ‘I am blind, what is your excuse?’ The good dean then introduced himself.” Bob Pearson ’59
Since I became editor of The Peak in 2003, I’ve published several articles that Germano submitted. The most remarkable of these is “First Day of School.” In this article, Germano describes in detail the experience of having to leave his home and family, at age seven, to attend Perkins Institute for the Blind. I think you will find it to be a memorable read. Here is a link to the article, which was published in multiple installments (he had an amazing memory).
Germano died earlier this year after a long and successful life. His friends and Sigma Chi brothers sent me humorous stories about their experiences with Germano, which I used to create the article “Tales of Brother Germano,” which was sent to his, family. The stories show how Germano dealt with his disability in a challenging environment. The article also includes his obituary. Here is a link to the article.
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