The May Booth Scholarship Fund

For Michigan Residents Only

In order to provide the highest quality of comprehensive services for the deaf and hard of hearing populations of southeast Michigan and to expand the number of Sign Language Interpreters to serve these individuals, DHIS has established THE MAY BOOTH SCHOLARSHIP FUND.

The Fund provides two scholarships each year to students starting their second year of sign language interpreting training. Each student applicant must have a goal of obtaining an Associate Degree or Bachelor of Arts Degree through an accredited Interpreter Training Program or Sign Language Studies Program.

Potential applicants, persons with questions, or those who would like to make a donation to the MAY BOOTH SCHOLARSHIP FUND, please call DHIS at 248-473-1888 or reach us by e-mail at

Download The May Booth Scholarship Award application here (PDF).

About May Booth


May Booth

May Booth was a hearing daughter of deaf parents (Harry and Mary Friday). She grew up on a farm in Royal Oak, Michigan. There were no “hearing people” within 30 miles of the farm. Therefore, her native language was the language of her deaf parents—American Sign Language. She did not speak until she was five years old, but quickly advanced in school as she learned English, eventually earning an Associate’s degree from Oakland University.

As a native “signer” and the oldest “hearing” daughter of deaf parents, May very quickly became an Interpreter for her deaf parents, other family members and their friends, and was interpreting on a daily basis.

She found time to marry her high school sweetheart, Paul Booth (married 50+ years). They had three children, Linda, Ronald and Jolene (8 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren). May continued interpreting on a volunteer basis. In 1969, she was approached by the Tri County Deaf Senior Citizens organization and was asked to be its Director/Interpreter. Board Meetings were held in her home.

In 1973, she successfully wrote her first grant to the Area Agency on Aging 1-B to provide services to deaf older adults. She began pioneering the field of interpreting for services to deaf senior citizens and also established satellite sites throughout southeast Michigan where deaf adults could come for group programs and individual client assistance.

May Booth was especially noted for her excellence in Interpreting. She received one of the first Comprehensive Skills Certificates from the Performance Testing Board of the National Registry of Interpreters and was a Nationally Certified Interpreter for more than 50 years.

There is great respect and admiration throughout the nation for May Booth’s work. In 1982, the Michigan State Office on Aging honored her for service to the deaf community. She was selected and served as a State Commissioner under the administration of Governor Milliken. She was also honored by Madonna University for nearly a quarter century of interpreting at its campus in Livonia, Michigan.

May Booth passed away several years ago. Today’s DHIS continues her legacy of organization, innovation in services, perseverance and compassion for one’s fellow men and women.