The Robert G. Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday, August 27, 2022.
The rich history of the center dates back to 1946 when Robert G. Sanderson and other Deaf advocates dreamed of a center where the community could meet. Other cities had “Deaf clubs” and the group wanted one of their own in Salt Lake City. However, it took another 30 years before the seeds planted that day sprouted.
The first incarnation of what would become the Sanderson Center debuted in Bountiful in 1983. For the next decade, this was the home-away-from-home for Utah’s Deaf community. The present-day building was commissioned in the late ‘80s and the Sanderson Community Center in Taylorsville opened in 1992.
The building is named in honor of Robert G. Sanderson, Utah’s first state coordinator of services to people who are Deaf, DeafBlind or hard of hearing. Sanderson created a specialized rehabilitation unit for the Deaf and hard of hearing while working as the state coordinator.
Today, the Sanderson Center continues his legacy as the home of Utah’s Division of Services of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. At the center, community members can access support in identifying services, help in finding a job, and access to resources, technology and classes.
The center also manages the state’s certification of American Sign Language Interpreters — an important part of ensuring equity in communication. Most importantly, though, the Sanderson Center is the hub of community life. On any given day, you will find people there, connecting with their friends and family.
The Deaf, DeafBlind and hard-of-hearing community provides a wealth of knowledge, skills, talents, interests and experiences that add tremendous diversity, resourcefulness and creative energy to Utah. As the Sanderson Center moves forward, the community built here will continue the legacy of its namesake in connecting and uniting Utah’s Deaf, DeafBlind and hard-of-hearing community.
The Sanderson Community Center is part of the Department of Workforce Services, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. For more information on the programs and services at the Sanderson Community Center, jobs.utah.gov/usor/dhh/.