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John Cabot University will have the honor of granting an honorary degree in Humane Letters to Roberto E. Wirth, President and General Manager of the famed Hotel Hassler in Rome, overlooking the Spanish Steps. Born in Rome in 1950, Wirth is the only known deaf person in the world to head a world-famous five-star hotel.
Although his family has been in the luxury hospitality business for almost two centuries, Wirth had to earn the right to manage the family business. He tells his extraordinary story in the autobiography ll silenzio è stato il mio primo compagno di giochi (“Silence Was My First Playmate”), published in 2015 by Newton Compton.
He is the founder and president of CABSS, Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi Onlus (Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting deaf and deafblind children, and their families. The association focuses in particular on children from birth to six years and works with projects that promote an adequate cognitive, emotional, social, linguistic and communicative development, which allows children to fully express their personality. Moreover, CABSS, in collaboration with the Italian Fulbright Commission, provides scholarships to deaf students to attend Gallaudet University, USA.
Wirth received a B.Sc. degree at Cornell University’s “School of Hotel Administration” (Ithaca, New York) as well as Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters both from Lynn University (Boca Raton, Florida) in May 2006 and from Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC in May 2009. He is also one of the 8 deaf recipients of the DeafNation Inspiration Award (for Hotel Hospitality) in August 2012 in Las Vegas. In 2014 he was awarded the “Leading Legend Award” by The Leading Hotels of the World, for his commitment to the art of independent hospitality.
The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa will be conferred upon Roberto E. Wirth in recognition of his exceptional entrepreneurial achievements and philanthropic dedication.