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AG Bell Remembers George H. Nofer

George H. Nofer was more than just an enthusiastic lawyer and educator. He was dedicated to advancing the education of children who are deaf and hard of hearing, and was particularly passionate about encouraging young, talented people to achieve their full potential. He passed away on April 19, 2021 at age 94.

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Written By: Rin-rin Yu

George H. Nofer was more than just an enthusiastic lawyer and educator. He was dedicated to advancing the education of children who are deaf and hard of hearing, and was particularly passionate about encouraging young, talented people to achieve their full potential. He passed away on April 19, 2021 at age 94.

Nofer developed this lifelong interest when one of his legal clients, Paul and Louise Oberkotter, started the Oberkotter Foundation in 1985. It is an organization that helps children who are deaf and hard of hearing, after the Oberkotters were determined to help their own daughter, Mildred, who was born deaf, achieve a quality education that allowed her to communicate through speech and be a full citizen of the community. Nofer became co-trustee and executive director for 15 years. During this time, he led the foundation to open new schools nationwide that specialized in education for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. As a result, his involvement led to working closely with AG Bell. As a thank-you for his service, the George H. Nofer Scholarship for Law and Public Policy was created to support aspiring lawyers and public policy makers who were also deaf and hard of hearing.

“Thanks to his scholarships, deaf people not only in the United States but in other countries have been able to pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers, even in countries as far away as Indonesia,” says Michael Stein, a law partner who is deaf at Stein & Vargas, LLP in Washington, D.C. “These individuals in turn will be able to advocate for people in their countries who are deaf or hard of hearing. In this manner, Mr. Nofer has had a ripple effect on the lives of so many people and the world is a better place for having had him.”

Nofer himself graduated from Yale Law School and joined the Philadelphia law firm Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis as the chair of the trust and estate department. He retired in 1992 as a partner but stayed in practice until 2005.


My husband and I are expecting our first later this year in August, and over the last several months as we prepare for this next chapter in our lives, I find myself often day dreaming about my childhood, my growth, and all of the steps that have led me to where I am today and the future I hope to build for our daughter. There were challenges for sure, as there are for most, but it is not the challenges that I find myself remembering, it’s the hope and dreams of family and friends that pushed me always further, the joy we shared together with each accomplishment, small and large, and also the pain we experienced and overcame together when the struggles appeared unbearable. The person I am is made of these moments, of the people who believed in me and always pushed me further. I would not be where I am today without the help of many others. Those that are close and those, like Mr. Nofer, who were rooting for me from afar. Today, I am a practicing patent attorney. A field that, but for all those rooting so strongly for me, would have been closed to me. I am and will be forever grateful.
—Jewell N. Briggs

Since graduating from BC Law in 2012 with the help of a Nofer scholarship, I’ve practiced at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP in Boston as an intellectual property litigator. I’m now a principal at Choate, and I enjoy the work — and the company of my clients and colleagues — very much. I received a cochlear implant in 2017 and found it to be a life-changing improvement over my hearing aids. And better still, my wife Emily and I welcomed our daughter, Caroline, in September 2019.

I’ll always be grateful to AG Bell and the Nofer Fund for their generosity, and for opening my eyes to the broader community of lawyers who are hard-of-hearing. I made a connection with John Stanton through the scholarship process, and then to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Lawyers Facebook group (now an official Bar Association). I will continue to look for opportunities to pay it forward.
—Kevin Quigley

The George H. Nofer fund was a tremendous help in easing the financial burden of law school, which I will always greatly appreciate. Since law school, I have dedicated my practice to child welfare and in helping the less fortunate. I currently represent the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in state child welfare proceedings, and my main role is to keep Indian families together when possible. I truly enjoy what I do and it would not have been possible without the generosity of the George H. Nofer fund. When I am not working, I like to keep active with my two daughters and husband.

In my last year of law school, I learned that I have a rare disease called Usher’s Syndrome, Type 2. Notonly am I hard of hearing, I am also losing my vision. Rather than letting my diagnosis stunt my life, I try to keep a positive outlook and do what I can now.
—Tara Hubbard

I have two beautiful children of my own, Zoe, age 3, and Ava, age 1. Since graduating from Cornell Law School, I have been practicing corporate law, primarily with emerging companies in the renewables and clean tech space, first in Boston and now with the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC in San Francisco.

The scholarship that Mr. Nofer made possible leaves me likewise grateful not just for the financial support, but also for the gift of knowing that he and the AG Bell team had my back, and believed I had something worthwhile to contribute with my life and my profession.
—Kate Georgen

Much of my legal education was funded by the Alexander Graham Bell Association, George H. Nofer Scholarship, and the State of New York Rehabilitation Commission. George Nofer, despite all his responsibilities, personally engaged with me and provided much needed advice.

Since then I have made modest attempts to pay-it-forward by donating to the Foundation for Fighting Blindness and asking relatives and friends to donate in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts. Hopefully, someday, continued success will allow me to fund a scholarship for a disabled law student attempting to establish a second career while working full-time to support a family. It truly is a difficult but very rewarding experience that shapes a person to the core.
—Keith Vick

Support for AG Bell College Scholarships can be made here. Gifts in memory of George Nofer are sincerely appreciated.

For more information, please visit AG Bell here.

AG Bell recuerda a George H. Nofer

George H. Nofer no fue solo un abogado y un educador entusiasta. Dedicó su vida a promover la educación de los niños con sordera e hipoacusia y le apasionaba especialmente alentar a las personas jóvenes y con talento a que desarrollaran todo su potencial. Falleció el 19 de abril de 2021 a la edad de 94 años.

El Sr. Nofer desarrolló este gran interés cuando sus clientes legales, Paul y Louise Oberkotter, pusieron en marcha la Fundación Oberkotter en 1985. Esta organización dedicada a apoyar a los niños con sordera e hipoacusia se fundó gracias a la determinación de los Oberkotter de ayudar a su propia hija, Mildred, que nació con sordera, a que recibiera una educación de calidad que le permitiera comunicarse mediante el habla y ser una ciudadana plena de la comunidad. El Sr. Nofer fue coadministrador y director ejecutivo de la fundación durante 15 años, en los que se centró en la apertura a nivel nacional de nuevas escuelas especializadas en la educación de niños con sordera e hipoacusia. Como resultado de esta labor, empezó a trabajar estrechamente con AG Bell. En agradecimiento a sus servicios, se creó la Beca George H. Nofer para Derecho y Políticas Públicas destinada a ayudar a los futuros abogados y legisladores públicos con sordera e hipoacusia.

“Gracias a sus becas, las personas con sordera, no solo en los Estados Unidos sino en otros países, han podido realizar su sueño de convertirse en abogados, incluso en países tan lejanos como Indonesia”, afirma Michael Stein, un socio legal con sordera que trabaja en Stein & Vargas, LLP en Washington, D.C. “Estas personas, a su vez, podrán defender los derechos de las personas con sordera e hipoacusia en sus propios países. De esta manera, el Sr. Nofer ha logrado ejercer un efecto dominó en la vida de numerosas personas y el mundo es un lugar mejor gracias a su labor”.

El propio Nofer se había graduado en la Facultad de Derecho de Yale e incorporado al bufete Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, con sede en Filadelfia, como presidente del departamento de fideicomisos y sucesiones. Se retiró en 1992 como socio pero siguió ejerciendo hasta 2005.


Desde que me gradué de Boston College Law en 2012 con la ayuda de una beca Nofer, he ejercido en Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP en Boston como litigante de propiedad intelectual. Ahora soy director de Choate y disfruto mucho el trabajo y la compañía de mis clientes y colegas. Recibí un implante coclear en 2017 y descubrí que era una mejora que me cambiaba la vida con respecto a mis audífonos. Y mejor aún, mi esposa Emily y yo le dimos la bienvenida a nuestra hija, Caroline, en septiembre de 2019.

Siempre estaré agradecido a AG Bell y al Fondo Nofer por su generosidad y por abrirme los ojos a la comunidad más amplia de abogados con problemas de audición. Me conecté con John Stanton a través del proceso de becas y luego con el grupo de Facebook de abogados sordos y con problemas de audición (ahora un Colegio de Abogados oficial). Seguiré buscando oportunidades para retribuirlo.
—Kevin Quigley

Tengo dos hermosos hijos, Zoe de 3 años, y Ava de 1 año. Desde que me gradué de la Facultad de Derecho de Cornell, he ejercido la abogacía corporativa, principalmente con empresas emergentes en el ámbito de las energías renovables y la tecnología limpia, primero en Boston y ahora con el bufete de abogados Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC en San Francisco.

La beca que fundó el Sr. Nofer hizo possible que junto con el equipo de AG Bell me ayudaron a llegar a mi meta. Me respaldaron y creyeron en mí.
—Kate Georgen

Si desea realizar una contribución a las becas universitarias de AG Bell puede hacerlo aquí. Se agradecen sinceramente las donaciones en memoria de George Nofer.

Para mas infomación, visite a AG Bell International aquí.

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