“Too often, school reform efforts take a one-size-fits-all approach,” Lane said. “There are certainly fundamental elements that every school literacy program must include, but making real, sustainable improvement requires careful consideration of each school’s unique strengths and challenges. Context matters.”
UF Education Dean Glenn Good said Patterson’s efforts to improve literacy throughout Florida are well documented “and deeply appreciated by our faculty. We are excited to partner with James Patterson in his ambitious goal to double the number of students in our state who can read proficiently,” Good said.
Patterson, who lives in Palm Beach, couldn’t attend the afternoon ceremony at UF due to a scheduling conflict but said in a press release that “as a Floridian, I am especially impressed by the UF College of Education’s innovation and efforts to help struggling readers at Florida’s high-poverty schools.”
He is known for his philanthropy supporting higher education, literacy instruction, keeping libraries well stocked, and, of course, book-reading by people of all ages. Patterson’s $3 million donation to the college Friday follows on the heels of gifts worth $432,000 that he has made over the past four years to fund 72 scholarships for 21 UF teacher prep students with a strong interest in reading instruction.
Each year the Patterson Family Foundation awards scholarships to students in various fields at 22 different colleges and universities around the country. That includes several dozen James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships, like those at UF, for education students who are committed to teaching careers.
The College of Education’s fundraising goal in the seven-year capital campaign is $55 million. The college’s kickoff celebration Friday afternoon was to be followed by the University of Florida’s kickoff celebration of its uber-ambitious $3 billion campaign Friday evening at 7:30 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
SOURCE: Holly Lane, Professor and Director of the School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies at UF’s College of Education; firstname.lastname@example.org; 352-273-4273
WRITER/MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, UF College of Education; email@example.com; 352-273-4137