William Woods University American Sign Language students work with Missouri School for the Deaf

William Woods ASL

The proximity of William Woods University to the Missouri School for the Deaf — both located in Fulton — provides a rich environment for collaboration and understanding of Deaf culture and trends.

Online bachelor’s students of Interpretation Studies also benefit from their professors having close ties with this school. And if they’re local to Fulton, they, too, can spend time volunteering, observing classrooms and conversing in American Sign Language.

The Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD) was founded in 1851, established by an act of the Missouri Legislature. It is the oldest residential school for the Deaf west of the Mississippi River. The school’s first superintendent was Dr. William D. Kerr, who saw the school through its early building programs and helped establish the school among the nation’s most prominent schools for the Deaf from its inception.

The Missouri School for the Deaf campus currently occupies approximately 87 acres. It is a residential school, which means most students live on campus, however very often, families move to Fulton so that their children can attend as a day student, and still be close with their families. Students attend from preschool through grade 12.

There has always been a close relationship between the community of Fulton and the school. The school hosts American Sign Language classes for the Fulton community and across the state almost on a weekly basis.