Nominate Distinguished Service Award Candidates

 In honor of Lou Fant’s life and his vast contributions to the field of interpreting, SCRID has established two annual awards in his honor.

The awards will be given to two persons, one hearing and one Deaf, who have made outstanding contributions to the interpreting field.


  • RID and/or NAD certified
  • Actively contributes to improving the field of interpreting
  • Nominations must include a one-page rationale in support of the nominee
  • Member of RID and SCRID


  • Actively contributes to the field of interpreting
  • Has enhanced the image of the interpreting profession
  • Nominations must include a one-page rationale in support of the nominee and co-signed by a SCRID member

The Lou Fant Memorial Committee will determine the award winners and present the awards during the annual banquet/luncheon.

Applications must be postmarked by April 6, 2013.
Nominations should be sent to:

LFDSA Nominations c/o Patty Drasin, LFMF Committee Chair
18661 Sunburst St.
Northridge, CA 91324

or send to email.

Apply for the Gary Sanderson NIC Scholarship

Are you Deaf or hearing and preparing to take the National Interpreter Certification test? Take a moment to share some information with us and you may be chosen to receive a scholarship to help pay for the testing fee.

Every interpreter in the United States deserves the chance to become certified.

Most interpreting students want to take and pass the certification test. They recognize that certification is the most direct path to success in this career. Certification also provides opportunities to explore talents and develop skills they can use to participate more fully in the profession—at the affiliate chapter, at work, and in national committees.

We will help other interpreters afford to take the certification test.

Interpreting students and new professionals are highly motivated and become ready for certification assessment in greater numbers every year. We’re working to help them get there through our scholarship program.

We believe in engaging with future leaders committed to improving and advancing the profession of Sign Language interpreting.

We will provide scholarships for certification testing that benefit current members in good standing of RID and SCRID.

The SCRID Lou Fant Memorial committee determines the scholarship awardees based on their applications and supporting documentation.

Submit FIVE (5) copies of the following:

  • Complete the scholarship application.
  • Indicate in the cover letter what you will use the scholarship for: 1) Written test for CDI, 2) Written Test for NIC, 3) CDI Performance Test, or 4) NIC Performance Test
  • Describe in 250 words or less your current work in the field of interpreting (include dates, part or fulltime) and training (college courses, workshops).
  • Print and include a copy of your SCRID membership information from the website after login.
  • Include a copy of your RID membership card.
  • If applying for performance test scholarship, include verification that you passed the written test.
  • Include a letter of recommendation from a hearing professional working in the field of interpreting.
  • Include a letter of recommendation from a Deaf individual.

Applications must be postmarked by April 6, 2013.

SCRID NIC Scholarship c/o Patty Drasin, LFMF Committee Chair
18661 Sunburst Street
Northridge, CA 91324

or via e-mail

In Memorium – Lou Fant

Louie “Lou” Judson Fant Jr.

Louie Fant, an educator and actor who was one of the founders of the National Theatre of the Deaf, has died.  He was 69.

Fant, who wrote books on sign language and, during the 1980s, co-hosted the television program “Off-Hand,” died Monday in Seattle of complications from pulmonary fibrosis.

Born in Greenville, S.C., to deaf parents, Fant could hear well but learned sign language virtually before he began to speak.

Lou Fant“I became bilingual at birth,” he told a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune some years ago, “learning sign language from my parents and [auditory-verbal] English from my relatives.”

He went to Baylor University for a bachelor’s degree, while initially pursuing a degree in the ministry for the hearing-impaired.  But he changed his vocation to teacher and earned a master’s degree at Columbia University.

After teaching elementary school at the New York School for the Deaf, Fant joined the faculty at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the nation’s preeminent school for the hearing-impaired.  While acting as a “voice” for deaf actors in school productions, Fant developed an interest in acting and the theater.

In 1967, he helped found the National Theatre of the Deaf in Waterford, Conn., and toured the country with the troupe over the next three years in the capacity of actor, interpreter, translator, narrator and administrator.

He believed the theater experience that his company offered helped provide a fresh perspective for hearing people.

“Whenever National Theatre of the Deaf performs, 60% of the audience is hearing,” he told a reporter for The Times some years ago. “You see, they make a point of saying it’s theatre OF the deaf, not FOR the deaf.  And hearing people who don’t know what to expect — they think they’re going to watch a bunch of handicapped people on stage — suddenly, they forget the handicap and realize they’re just watching actors working in a different medium.  And they love it…

“It’s broken down a lot of barriers,” he added, “made hearing people aware of deaf people — and that they have something to offer in theater, dance, art, literature, all forms of the arts — that only a deaf person can offer.”Lou Fant

Fant relocated to Southern California in the 1970s to pursue his acting career.  He did local theater and found character parts in a number of TV programs and films including “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Little House on the Prairie.”

He also worked as a consultant and sign language coach for numerous actors, including Diane Keaton, Henry Winkler, and John Rubenstein.  He coached actors in the use of sign language on the set of “Children of a Lesser God.”

Through the 1980s, Fant co-hosted a program called “Off-Hand” on KHJ-TV Channel 9 in Southern California.

Fant’s co-host, the hearing-impaired Herb Larson, would offer his witty commentary in sign language, which Fant would later translate into words for the hearing TV audience.  The show won two local Emmy awards and featured guests ranging from actress Marlee Matlin to ventriloquist Paul Winchell.

Fant also offered seminars on sign language across the country.  The author of several books on sign language, his “The American Sign Language Phrase Book” is still widely used.

Fant is survived by his wife, Barbara Bernstein, and four children.

The “Why” behind the “What”

During the banquet on Saturday honoring the award winners Bonnie described the purpose behind the Lou Fant Memorial Fund and why it is so important to SCRID and to our profession.