David Hays is the founding artistic director of the National Theatre of the Deaf and an award-winning theater designer and lifelong sailor.
He created sets for the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center, Martha Graham’s ballets, George Balanchine’s thirty ballets – as well as several Broadway plays and musicals.
Early Life and Education
David Hays was a linguist, computer scientist and social scientist renowned for his pioneering work in machine translation and computational linguistics. He began as project leader at Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif. before becoming professor of linguistics, computer science and information and library studies at State University at Buffalo.
He also wrote six books, including Cognitive Structures. As an expert on language and cognition, his interests also extended to how culture develops.
In 1967, he founded the National Theatre of the Deaf to integrate sign language and spoken word into performances. This innovative approach allowed theatergoers to “see and hear” every word spoken during a show.
David Hays is a Certified Public Accountant who has worked at several major firms in Oklahoma before joining Stanfield + O’Dell in 2009. His dedication to detail helps him get things done correctly the first time and foster long-lasting relationships.
He particularly enjoyed working with clients who shared an entrepreneurial mindset. This enabled him to establish himself as a leader within the sales division of his firm, eventually leading to promotion to chief executive officer position in 2015.
David Hays has been an active member of the American Society of CPAs for many years, serving as a part of their leadership team and board chairman of Special Olympics Oklahoma. Additionally, he served as officer at YMCA of Greater Tulsa for many years and was also a graduate of Leadership Tulsa Class 14.
Achievements and Honors
David Hays was an accomplished theatre designer who collaborated with some of America’s premier directors. His designs for plays on Broadway, in London and Japan showcased stunning scenery and lighting effects.
He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2014.
His book on stage lighting, Lighting Design for the Stage (1996), earned him both an Obie award and Tony nomination. Additionally, he served as founding Artistic Director of the National Theatre of the Deaf.
Hays made a major contribution to computational linguistics. He coined the term “corpus linguistics,” which involves creating machine translation systems based on annotated corpuse data sets. A member of both Association for Computational Linguistics and International Committee on Computational Linguistics, Hays made an invaluable contribution to his field.
David Hays was a celebrated stage designer who collaborated with some of theater history’s greatest directors, such as Arthur Penn, Garson Kanin, Tyrone Guthrie and Elia Kazan. His works were showcased on Broadway, in London and Japan.
He founded the National Theatre of the Deaf, a company comprised solely of deaf actors that has traveled throughout the world ever since and continues to thrive today.
At every turn, his commitment to his family and friends was evident. He loved spending time with them, always ready to lend a helping hand when needed and wherever possible. With an easygoing disposition and natural southern charm, he won over the hearts of everyone he encountered.
David Hays was born in Camden, Arkansas to Maurice and Suzanna Hays. He earned a degree from Camden High School before attending Southern Arkansas Tech in Texarkana.
He worked at Taco Tico and was a part-owner of the franchise. Additionally, he appeared in plays and short-lived television series.
His estimated net worth is over $3 million. He has been married to a longtime friend for 14 years and was deeply committed to their daughter Risa during that time.
He is the co-host of the Your Money with David Hays show on Fox Business Channel and former managing director at Wells Fargo Advisors, where he most recently served as head of the Private Wealth Financial Advisors Group.