Novelist’s continued support helps scale up UF literacy initiatives
After a successful first phase, the next chapter of the James Patterson Literacy Challenge is ready to be written.
After a successful first phase, the next chapter of the James Patterson Literacy Challenge is ready to be written.
A caravan of 30 fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls a part of Girlfriends of Pinellas County travelled to the University of Florida College of Education eager to experience a day in the life of a Florida Gator.
Best-selling author James Patterson’s generous donation backs COE’s ‘Literacy Challenge’ to aid Florida’s youngest readers
While top-to-bottom renovations of UF’s Norman Hall aren’t due to begin until spring of 2017, private donations have allowed the College of Education to upgrade three classrooms in its 82-year-old academic home over the past year.
The latest makeover is immediately evident in Room 2323, where education students and instructors are already reaping the benefits of the new 21st century accoutrements. The transformed “active-learning” classroom couples mobile furniture and innovative teaching methods with modern technology that the teachers-in-training will one day use in their own classrooms.
Thanks to a $15,000 gift to the college from the Robert S. and Mildred M. Baynard Trust, matched by discretionary funds from the dean’s office plus a subsidy from the college’s School of Teaching and Learning, Room 2323 has been reinvigorated with cutting-edge technology and multi-functional classroom furniture.
STL Director Ester de Jong said the mobile furniture and new technology fully engages students by encouraging collaborative problem solving.
“The modernized classrooms allow us to engage our pre-service teachers in the kind of instruction that we want them to be using with their students in their future classrooms,” de Jong said.
De Jong added that our students are able to better their education and skills because of contributions from our donors.
“Thanks to the generous gifts by the Baynard Trust and the matching funds by Dean Good, we are now able to provide our students with an active learning environment that models and engages them in the teaching and learning experience of the 21st century,” she said.
In a recent lesson in STL doctoral fellow Brittney Beck’s Introduction to Education course, Room 2323’s new multi-media technology allowed students to simulate the obstacles that schoolchildren with disabilities face in the classroom. Then, the education students could explore how a traditional K-12 setting can be altered to meet the learning needs of students who are “differently abled” (a “person-first” term, which Beck encourages students to use, that emphasizes all of the abilities a student has, rather than what a student is unable to do.)
“The new technology enabled our students to experience the frustration, exhaustion and self-doubt that occurs when a classroom environment is not designed to meet the needs of a students,” Beck said. “This offers vivid insights into the social and emotional dimensions of learning.”
SOURCE: Ester de Jong, 352-273-4227; email@example.com
WRITER: Kelsie Ozanne, College of Education; firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Florida’s College of Education turns 110 years old this fall.
Visit our special anniversary website to read highlights of the College of Education’s 110 years.
To celebrate, the college has planned a year’s worth of activities as we build on our legacy as Florida’s premier training ground for educators and scholars.
Help make a defining impact on our college. Every gift makes a difference. Make your gift today.
Leslie Eggert Scales-Holloway (BAE ’68) was visibly moved as she reflected on her late father’s role as the beloved principal at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School from 1947 to 1952. “He strongly believed in the connection between school and community,” she said in a recent interview. “That was Daddy.”
Scales-Holloway of Orlando, and a P.K. Yonge “lifer” (attending kindergarten through high school there), has pledged a $100,000 gift in support of the school’s proposed state-of-the-art secondary building. Like P.K. Yonge’s ultramodern elementary building, which opened in 2012, the 21st century design of the secondary building will “transform the educational experience for today’s and tomorrow’s students,” according to school Director Lynda Hayes.
While the secondary building project is still in the fundraising stage before construction can start, school officials have honored Scales-Holloway for her generosity by naming a key portion of the new elementary wing as the Dr. C. Lee Eggert Learning Corridor, in honor of her father, the former principal.
“The (learning corridor) space is flexible and can be used in so many different ways. Daddy would have loved this space and seeing the potential for a wide variety of learning activities and community events taking place here,” Scales-Holloway said.
After Dr. Eggert’s time at P.K. Yonge, which has served as UF’s K-12 laboratory school since 1934, he joined the faculty at the UF College of Education where he was a professor of secondary administration. His work with the Florida Parent-Teacher Association and chairmanship of the Florida Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools endeared him to students, parents, teachers and administrators statewide.
After graduating from P.K. Yonge, Scales-Holloway went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in education in 1968 from the UF College of Education. She taught school in Alachua and Marion counties and served for several years as a member of the Marion County School Board.
She was recently joined in celebrating the naming of the Dr. C. Lee Eggert Learning Corridor by her husband Rufus (who also goes by “Dick”), three siblings (also P.K. Yonge “lifers”), extended family, P.K. Yonge faculty and staff.
The prevailing sentiment at the school may best be summed up in the words of Ashley Pennypacker-Hill, P.K. Yonge program and outreach specialist and a P.K. Yonge alumna (class of ‘99): “We are delighted that this beautiful space will now remind us of P.K. Yonge’s past and will continue to support P.K. Yonge’s future.”
Maureen Conroy, Ph.D., an early childhood expert and professor in the University of Florida College of Education, has been named the Anita Zucker Professor in Early Childhood Studies.
Conroy, who co-directs the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at UF, is working with other center researchers to transform science, policy and practices in early childhood learning, intervention and healthy development. Their efforts are gaining national and worldwide attention.
“Ninety percent of a child’s brain development happens before he or she turns 5,” Conroy said. “Our research mission is to provide science-based approaches for supporting young children’s development and learning during this critical time.”
A primary focus of the center is supporting young children who are most vulnerable, their families, and their early childhood providers to create nurturing and supportive early learning environments to help them succeed.
Through the Anita Zucker Center, Conroy and her collaborators partner with colleagues from a number of colleges at UF as well as other community, state, national and international stakeholders.
Zucker, a 1972 UF education graduate and a UF Board of Trustees member, has long been interested in early childhood studies. In 2011, the Charleston, South Carolina native contributed $1 million to the College of Education to establish the endowed professorship that Conroy now occupies. Last year, Zucker gave another $5 million to expand the center’s efforts and UF’s Preeminence initiative in early childhood studies.
“Anita Zucker understands the importance of investing in young children’s growth, development and education,” Conroy said. “Her generous gifts are a game-changer that ensures our work will reach children and families in our community, state and across the nation and world.”
A graduate of Keene State College in New Hampshire and a two-time graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Conroy’s 38-year career has revolved around conducting research and training future researchers as well as those working directly with young children and their families.
Patricia Snyder, director of the Anita Zucker Center who also serves as the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, said the appointment of Maureen Conroy as the inaugural Anita Zucker Professor in Early Childhood Studies will advance the College of Education’s national and international visibility and impact.
“Having the Zucker Professor and Lawrence Chair working side-by-side demonstrates UF’s commitment to achieving preeminence in early childhood studies,” Snyder said.
Zucker, who taught elementary school for 10 years and has a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of North Florida, agreed.
“Early childhood education really is the key to unlocking doors for later learning and success in life,” she said. “Transforming our children’s lives through education is important in so many ways.”
Liaison: Larry Lansford, director, College of Education Office of News and Communications; email@example.com; phone 352-273-4137.
Writer: Linda Homewood, Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 352-273-4284.
University of Florida alumnus Joe Thigpen and his wife, Rebecca De Marie, of Alachua, Fla., have pledged an estate gift of $200,000 in unrestricted funds that will “advance the ambitious and transformative goals of the UF College of Education,” according to COE Dean Glenn Good.
“Unrestricted gifts like these are very important because they allow us to quickly respond to time-sensitive opportunities and support promising initiatives that lack other funding sources,” Good said. “The generous support of donors such as Dr. Thigpen and Rebecca enables us to help educators become more effective.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1966, Thigpen went on to earn four more degrees at UF, including a master of science in education (1970); a master’s in education (1971); an Ed.S. (1974); and a Ph.D. in education (1974).
He said he established The Thigpen and De Marie Memorial Trust Endowment Fund because of an “overwhelming feeling of appreciation” he carries for UF and the COE.
“As I matured and became successful in the business world, it dawned on me how valuable my education was to my development and awareness about people and learning,” said Thigpen, who lives just outside Gainesville in Alachua. “My success as a management consultant was built upon a solid foundation, and now that I’m entering my retirement years, it seems natural to give back in some small way to the UF College of Education.
“Becky and I are delighted that the COE assisted us in formalizing this gift,” he added. “We feel like we’re making a difference now, even though the actual gift will kick in later.
Thigpen has been a consultant to a number of individuals at high-profile corporations, including Larry Webb, CEO of The New Home Company in Aliso Viejo, Calif; and Andy Wright, chairman emeritus of National Community Renaissance, or CORE, a non-profit affordable housing development agency headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Wright said Thigpen helped him and his business partner grow their companies to include a work force of more than 400 employees and $1 billion in net worth.
“Thanks to Joe and his ability to help people by listening carefully to what their dreams are, I’ve achieved things far beyond my wildest dreams,” Wright said.
Jim Moran Foundation
T-H-E Journal ran an article about The Jim Moran Foundation, a philanthropic organization named after an automobile industry billionaire, providing a $1 million grant to support UF’s Early Learning Florida program, a unique online professional development system, according to Donald Pemberton, director of the College of Education’s Lastinger Center for Learning.
GAINESVILLE, FLA. — The Jim Moran Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Florida College of Education to provide access to the latest teaching tools for the state’s 55,000 early learning educators.
The funding will boost the college’s transformational Early Learning Florida program, a first-of-its-kind online professional development system for early learning practitioners.
“We’re thrilled and grateful,” said Don Pemberton, director of the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, the college’s innovation incubator that is implementing the program. “We’ll use this money to improve learning and development for hundreds of thousands of young children by providing new tools and resources to build the skills of early learning professionals.”
Built through community support, Early Learning Florida offers online and face-to-face instruction and continuing education with the latest course content, plus new certification programs for technical assistance coaches. State-funded stipends for early learning providers who successfully complete the course also are made available.
“By partnering with the Lastinger Center on this innovative initiative, we are helping create a standard for early learning that equips classroom teachers with the knowledge and know-how to provide all our children with a solid foundation for future academic success,” said Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Jim Moran Foundation, based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Early Learning Florida dovetails with one of UF’s priority research initiatives to “optimize” early childhood learning and development. Early childhood studies are a vital component of UF’s preeminence push — backed by the Florida Legislature — to become one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities.
Pemberton said The Jim Moran Foundation grant – which will be dispersed in equal payments over the next three years – also serves as an endorsement of the foundation’s belief in the importance of early learning.
“We are humbled to receive such a generous investment in our work from a foundation that honors the memory and extends the legacy of one of Florida’s greatest entrepreneurs and humanitarians,” he said.
The Jim Moran Foundation is one of four major philanthropic organizations that, together, have donated more than $3 million over multiple years to support Early Learning Florida.
The other three contributors are the Helios Education Foundation ($900,000), which supports education reform in Florida and Arizona; the Florida-based Lastinger Family Foundation ($500,000); and $600,000 from an Ohio-based foundation that has asked to remain anonymous.
About The Jim Moran Foundation
Founded by automotive pioneer Jim Moran, the mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation has invested more than $50 million in education, elder care, family strengthening, and youth transitional living initiatives since its inception in 2000 — with efforts currently focused in Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties. Through a long-term grant agreement, The Foundation’s significant funders are JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC. It is located at 100 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, Fla. 33442. To learn more, visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org or call (954) 429-2122.
About the UF Lastinger Center for Learning
Part of the University of Florida, the Lastinger Center is the College of Education’s educational innovation incubator. It harnesses the university’s intellectual resources to design, build, field-test and scale models that advance teaching, learning and healthy child development. The center continuously evaluates and refines its work, widely disseminates its findings and roots its initiatives in a growing network of partner sites around the state and country.
UF Source: Don Pemberton, director, UF Lastinger Center for Learning; 352-273-4103; email@example.com
UF Media Contact: Larry Lansford, director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Stephen Kindland, staff writer, UF College of Education; email@example.com
It’s that time of year again to Get Up and Give!
On Monday, Oct. 13, the University of Florida launched its fourth annual Get Up and Give campaign, a five-day giving campaign that invites the entire Gator community to support UF–all at once.
The fundraiser lasts from Monday until 11:59 p.m. on Friday night, Oct. 17.
The Florida Fund, UF’s annual giving unit, partnered with UF Foundation Communications and UF University Relations to create Get Up & Give as a campaign to educate alumni on the importance and power of private support. Did you know that state funding covers less than 20 percent of UF’s operating budget? Your university relies on private support and giving back is part of what it means to be a Gator!
Get Up and Give is also an opportunity for EduGator alumni, faculty, staff and students to show support specifically for the College of Education. We invite the COE community to donate to any College of Education program or project. Even a small gift can make a big impact. Our goal is to increase alumni participation and raise awareness of the importance of giving back to UF.
This year during Homecoming, show your EduGator spirit and join other Gators across the nation by making a gift during this university-wide giving campaign. When 30,000 EduGator alumni come together, there’s no stopping us.
C’mon EduGators, Get Up and Give!
Find out how at GetUpAndGive.ufl.edu/EDU.
Anita Zucker, a passionate advocate of early childhood education, will provide a leadership gift of $5 million to bolster a comprehensive initiative at the University of Florida focused on optimizing early childhood development and learning experiences.
Zucker’s gift – the largest from an individual to the College of Education – will be combined with another $5 million in Preeminence faculty and program support from the university over the next several years. This $10 million investment will help further position UF as a national and world leader in understanding how young children develop and learn in the context of their families and communities and help create programs that enhance early supports and learning. UF’s Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, housed in the College of Education, will be named for Zucker, a UF education alumna, in recognition of her generosity.
The new funding supports an interdisciplinary team of faculty, fellows, doctoral students, and local, state, national and international partners working to establish an innovative model in early learning. Studies show that nurturing and responsive interactions and quality early learning experiences during a child’s first five years can produce a lifetime of benefits.
Zucker, a former schoolteacher, has long been interested in early childhood. In 2011, she established a professorship in UF’s College of Education dedicated to early childhood. She also sponsored the Anita Zucker Alumni Challenge, in which she matched dollar-for-dollar gifts to UF’s College of Education.
“Education really is the key to unlocking doors for later learning and success in life,” said Zucker, CEO and chair of the Charleston, S.C.-based global manufacturing conglomerate The InterTech Group. “Transforming our children’s lives through education is so important in so many ways. The early childhood years are the most critical time for learning. That’s when they build a foundation that will play a major role in defining later success in learning and life.”
Improving early childhood studies is one of the university’s highest priorities, UF President Bernie Machen said. As part of UF’s Preeminence Plan, the university has invested in four faculty positions in the colleges of Education, Medicine and Public Health & Health Professions to support this interdisciplinary effort.
“Anita’s vision and leadership makes it possible for UF to transform America’s approach to early childhood studies,” Machen said. “Having Anita as a partner in this endeavor brings us that much closer to our goal of helping to ensure that every child has a chance to succeed.”
The newly named Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies is dedicated to advancing knowledge, policy and practices, with a focus on newborns to 5-year-olds and their families. Faculty and students from a number of UF colleges and departments are affiliated with the center, which collaborates with local, state, national and international partners to address family support, health, nutrition, mental health and early learning.
The Anita Zucker Center is one of a number of cutting-edge programs in the College of Education that are improving teaching and learning in Florida and across the nation.
“Early childhood education and research has been the big, missing piece in our education system. For UF’s College of Education to partner with others to address this critical need from an interdisciplinary perspective makes sense,” Dean Glenn Good said. “As Florida’s flagship university and a nationally preeminent institution, we have a responsibility to children everywhere to promote the very best learning opportunities for every stage of their lives.”
Zucker is a lifetime education advocate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at UF in 1972, received a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision at the University of North Florida and, for 11 years, taught English and social studies in elementary schools in Florida and South Carolina. In 2008, when her husband, Jerry, passed away, she succeeded him as CEO of the Hudson Bay Company and head of the InterTech Group. Jerry Zucker graduated from UF in 1972 as a triple major in math, chemistry and physics.
SOURCE: Patricia Snyder, professor and David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, and director, UF Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies; 352-273-4291; firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Maureen Conroy, professor and co-director, UF Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies; 352-273-4382; email@example.com
St. Petersburg College has honored UF College of Education alumna Helen Gilbart with its 2014 Outstanding Alumna Award.
Gilbart graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College (renamed SPC in 2001 when it began offering baccalaureate degree programs) in 1964 with her associate in arts degree. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s in education from UF in 1965 and 1967 respectively, she returned to SPJC as a faculty member at its Clearwater campus where she later became the program director for humanities, fine arts and communications.
In receiving the SPC honor, Gilbart was described as “a true example of a life-long educator and advocate of student success.” She has published several student reading skills and test preparatory manuals and was one of the founding members of SPC’s Women on the Way resource and support center to help women succeed in college. With her late husband Donald Gilbart (BAE ’52, MEd ’63), she was one of the early members of the SPC Foundation’s Legacy Society.
The Gilbarts have provided endowments and scholarship support over the years for both SPC and UF’s College of Education. In 2008, the UF college formed the Gilbart-Olsen Education Technology Endowment with a joint $100,000 donation from the Gilbarts and alumna Norma Olsen (BAE ’76, MEd ’80). The COE last fall used endowment funds to purchase 20 iPads for pre-service teaching students to use in their technology integration courses, helping them develop the skills necessary to teach schoolchildren how to effectively use and learn from technology.
“I think back on my days in Norman Hall with so much pleasure,” Gilbart said. “I received my best direction and influence from professors who inspired me to want to help those children and college students who have no way to help themselves without a helping hand from people like me. I always hope that others will want to pay it forward, too, by donating to UF and (the College of Education).”
SOURCE: Maria Gutierrez Martin, development and alumni affairs, UF College of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-273-4140
WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education
It was a simple act of kindness by the University of Florida president’s wife in 1956 that helped persuade Jess and Sharon Elliott of Amelia Island to “pay it back” more than a half-century later with a donation creating a student scholarship at UF’s College of Education.
Jess was a freshman living in the Talbot Hall dormitory when Frances Huston Millikan Reitz, the wife of then-President J. Wayne Reitz, visited while he was sick in bed in the UF student infirmary.
“Mrs. Reitz sent my mother a note letting her know I was all right and not to worry,” Jess Elliott said. “That really pleased my parents, and Sharon and I both appreciate the interest that the University of Florida showed in us and the opportunities the university provided for us.”
The couple has expressed their gratitude with a $30,000 gift, creating an scholarship in their name to help undergraduate or graduate students cover the cost of working toward their education degrees.
Jess Elliott, born and raised in Pahokee, Fla., received three degrees from the College of Education—a B.A.E. degree in 1962, his M.Ed. a year later (concentrating in modern European history), and a doctorate (Ed.D.) in 1970 specializing in educational psychology with a research focus. He says he was the first graduate of the research program in that specialty.
Elliott singles out two College of Education professors—Wilson Guertin and Douglas Scates—“who were instrumental in building my coherent approach to evaluating school effectiveness.”
Sharon Elliott was born in Tampa, spent two years living in UF’s Flavet (Florida Veterans) Villages while her father pursued his second UF degree), and spent the rest of her childhood in Thomasville, Ga. She attended UF for two years and later received her bachelor’s degree in from Agnes Scott College. She managed a travel agency in Atlanta for many years before she retired.
The Elliotts have one grandson son, Micah Mathis, who is a senior in electrical engineering at UF. Jess and Sharon both have many relatives who also graduated from UF.
The Elliotts moved to Amelia Island in 2013 after spending most of their adult years in Atlanta, where Jess worked as an administrator for the Georgia Department of Education, using his statistics expertise to help evaluate the state’s student-testing and school and teacher accountability programs. He retired in 1995 and worked as an education research consultant until closing the books on his business last fall.
“Jess and Sharon Elliott may describe their gift as payback to the University of Florida, but they are really paying it forward by helping future students of our college realize their dreams of becoming educators,” said UF education dean Glenn Good. “New scholarship donations like the Elliotts’ are gifts that keeps on giving, year after year.”
MEDIA CONTACT / WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education;
Today’s schools are under pressure to increase technology access, education and use for their students. UF’s College of Education is helping schools meet these 21st-century goals through a new initiative that prepares pre-service teachers with the resources and skills necessary to teach students how to effectively use and learn from technology.
All they need is one tool: an iPad.
The College’s educational technology program recently purchased 20 iPads to be used in their technology integration courses. The mobile tablets were purchased through the Gilbart-Olsen Educational Technology Endowment, which was formed in 2008 with a $100,000 donation to the program from College of Education alumni Donald (BAE ’52, MEd ’63) and Helen Gilbart (BAE ’65, MEd ’67) and Norma Olsen (BAE ’76, MEd ’80).
“Many pre-service teachers have not had the opportunity to use iPads or own them, which would be a challenge to implementing this technology in their classrooms,” said Helen Gilbart. “The college is keeping up with global trends by using this valuable tool to capture and hold student attention for learning.”
With the iPad’s built-in features like a photo and video camera, Internet browser, audio recorder, accessibility features and, of course, applications, the Apple-made tablet offers numerous educational opportunities for students, according to professor Kara Dawson.
Elementary education students in the technology integration courses were able to witness this first-hand during a recent visit to Kids Count, a local nonprofit afterschool program for kindergarten through third-grade students. The elementary ed students observed as Kids Count youngsters utilized a variety of iPad apps, from “Adding Apples” to “Rocket Speller” to “Marvel Math.” The overall reaction from the young students was positive.
But for COE doctoral student Krista Ruggles, who teaches “Integrating Technology into the Elementary Curriculum,” the iPad offers far more than apps.
“I hope they will see the value in using iPads as an instructional tool in the classroom for more than just drill and practice,” Ruggles said. “That’s the purpose of this class: to teach pre-service teachers how to help students become producers of technology, not consumers.”
SOURCE: Kara Dawson, educational technology, email@example.com
WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449
MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137
Mark your calendars for Get Up and Give! On Nov. 7 and 8, the University of Florida will launch its third annual Get Up and Give campaign, a 36-hour online giving campaign that invites the entire Gator community to support UF. The fundraiser starts at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7 and ends Friday, on the 8th at 8 p.m. The Florida Fund, UF’s annual giving department, partnered with the UF Foundation Communications and UF University Relations departments to create Get Up & Give as a campaign designed to educate alumni on the importance and power of private support. Did you know that state funding covers less than 20 percent of UF’s operating budget? Your university needs private support and giving back is part of what it means to be a Gator!
Get Up and Give is also an opportunity for EduGator alumni, faculty, staff and students to show support specifically for the College of Education. We invite the COE community to donate to any College of Education program or project. Gifts of any size are welcome and will be accepted online. The goal for the college this year is to have at least 200 EduGivers!
This year during Homecoming, show your EduGator spirit and join other Gators across the nation by making a gift during this 36-hour university-wide giving campaign. “We want this campaign to be a fun and exciting way for the COE community to get involved in philanthropy, while highlighting the importance of how your support can benefit the college and the students that we serve,” said Brian K. Danforth, associate director of development for the College of Education.
Visit http://www.GetUpandGive.ufl.edu/edu to show your support.
C’mon EduGators, Get Up and Give!
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gratitude to his high school teachers has inspired a Wisconsin attorney and winter resident of Gainesville to establish a scholarship fund at the University of Florida to help practicing schoolteachers earn graduate degrees.
Michael Gengler’s $2.2 million donation, made through a provision in his will, will support Alachua County schoolteachers who enroll in graduate school at UF’s College of Education to improve their teaching skills and advance their careers. Interest earned on the investment will cover the full tuition costs of graduate studies at UF for at least three teachers each year, according to a college spokesman.
Gengler, 69, credits his public schoolteachers, especially those who taught him at Gainesville High School, for his success in college and his law career.
“We all support our colleges and professional schools financially, but what about our public schools? They have to serve entire communities, not just a tiny fraction of the population,” said Gengler. “In my own experience, my public schoolteachers didn’t just get us through our classwork, they challenged us and inspired us.”
Gengler graduated from Gainesville High in 1962. He then earned degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School and practiced law in Boston and Chicago. He now lives most of the year near Madison, Wis., and spends winters in Gainesville.
“I could not have had my career in corporate law in Gainesville, but at least I can give something back,” Gengler said.
“What a wonderful legacy from one of Alachua County’s own,” said Alachua County Public School’s interim superintendent Hershel Lyons. “Mr. Gengler’s teachers would be very proud of both his success and his generosity. His gift is the perfect tribute to them and to all public school teachers.”
Teachers who receive a scholarship from the Michael T. Gengler Endowment Fund must have three or more years of classroom teaching experience and agree to teach for three more years in Alachua County after earning their advanced degrees.
“I hope this program helps attract excellent teachers to the county, and then will encourage them to pursue advanced degrees and leverage that talent and education in their classroom teaching careers,” Gengler said. “If the program works, the real beneficiaries will be their students.”
Glenn Good, dean of UF’s College of Education, described Gengler’s gift as “thoughtful and magnificent.”
“For Michael Gengler to honor his former teachers by helping other teachers speaks well of his character. His scholarships will have a ripple effect that will touch teachers and schoolchildren for generations,” Good said.
MEDIA CONTACT (UF): Larry Lansford, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA CONTACT (SCHOOL DISTRICT): Jackie Johnson, Alachua County Public Schools, 352-955-7880; email@example.com
WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications, UF College of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gainesville Sun, The Independent Alligator, UF News
James Patterson scholarship gift
A Gainesville Sun blog, The Independent Alligator and UF news published articles about bestselling novelist James Patterson’s $48,000 donation to the College of Education for teacher scholarships. Patterson, Elizabeth Bondy, director of the college’s School of Teaching and Learning, and Shannan Campbell, a Patterson scholarship recipient, were quoted in the stories.
It should come as no surprise that James Patterson, one of America’s current top bestselling authors, has a passion for books and reading, and he supports those who do the same.
But the plot thickens. Patterson believes one way to champion books and reading for children is by supporting our future teachers, which explains why his Patterson Family Foundation has donated $48,000 for scholarships benefiting eight elementary education students at the University of Florida.
“I was especially impressed by the teaching program at UF’s College of Education,” said Patterson, who lives in Palm Beach. “As a Floridian myself, I know UF is committed to quality in education, and I want to help these students who are eager to become great teachers.”
Patterson has sold more than 275 million copies of his books worldwide and has received and been nominated for numerous awards. He also holds the Guinness world record for most hardcover fiction bestselling titles by a single author.
His foundation’s gift to the college will award eight incoming elementary education students with a $6,000 scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year. The scholarship recipients will be obligated to submit a written essay by the end of the academic year in which they describe how they plan to apply what they have learned in their teacher education program within their future classrooms.
“Great teachers are at the core of our democracy,” said Elizabeth Bondy, the director of the college’s School of Teaching and Learning. “This gift will enable dedicated college freshmen to become practitioner scholars who will educate our youth and lead ongoing efforts to strengthen schools and society.”
The Patterson Family Foundation has provided scholarships to undergraduate and graduate education students at more than 15 colleges across the United States. The author and his wife also support scholarships at their alma mater universities, Manhattan College, Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin.
Patterson, author of best-selling suspense-thriller series like Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Michael Bennett, is also the current bestselling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.
SOURCE: Sabrina Benun, Hachette Book Group, 212-364-1487, email@example.com
SOURCE: Elizabeth Bondy, School of Teaching and Learning, UF College of Education, 352-273-4242, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137, email@example.com
WRITER: Alexa Lopez, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida and its K-12 laboratory school, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, have a long history of collaboration dating back to 1934, and now each will benefit from a $100,000 gift from one of the lab school’s former teachers.
Stephanie Wester, P.K. Yonge’s only fifth-grade teacher when she taught there in 1957-58, and her husband William J. Wester, both retired and living in Gainesville, have pledged the money to create an endowed scholarship in UF’s College of Education. The Stephanie Kornprobst Wester Endowed Fellowship will support deserving UF graduate students in education who are conducting innovative research or teaching projects at P.K. Yonge during their advanced degree studies.
“I didn’t get my degrees at (the University of) Florida, but it’s my husband’s alma mater and I’ve come to think of it as mine, too,” Stephanie Wester said. “I loved teaching at P.K. Yonge, and the school and the College of Education always work so hard together. P.K. Yonge has some exciting plans for the future and my husband and I want to help out and be a part of that.”
Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kent State and a master’s in reading education from Johns Hopkins University. Her husband, William, earned two UF degrees, in physical education in 1953 and electrical engineering in 1958. He is retired from Westinghouse, where he worked from 1973 to 1996.
UF’s College of Education established P.K. Yonge in 1934 as a model school to test its teaching theories and curriculum innovations and to provide practical teacher training for its undergraduates. The college and P.K. Yonge shared the new school building (located on the southeast corner of UF’s campus) until 1957, when the lab school moved a few blocks south to new quarters at its current location. The college took over the old school building and renamed it Norman Hall after former education dean James W. Norman.
“In 1958, I marched my fifth graders from the old building to the new school along with all the other P.K. Yonge students, from kindergarten to high school. That was an exciting time and the kids were absolutely thrilled,” Stephanie Wester said.
Mrs. Wester regrets she had to resign after just one year at P.K. Yonge, following her husband that summer to Long Island for his new job. Her 25-year teaching career took her to schools in Miami, Gainesville and Baltimore, plus three more years as supervisor of student teachers at Salisbury (Md.) State College.
After nearly a half-century away, the Westers moved back to Gainesville in 2005, with their loyalty to UF and P.K. Yonge still intact.
“Stephanie Wester taught at P.K. Yonge during one of the most critical times in the history of its 78-year partnership with the College of Education,” said Glenn Good, in his first year as UF dean of education. “Through their gift, the Westers now offer support at another exciting juncture, as P.K. Yonge embarks on a total campus revitalization to evolve into a model learning community and a 21st century technological powerhouse.
“Good things seem to happen at P.K. Yonge when Stephanie Wester comes around.”
WRITER: Larry Lansford, Director, COE News & Communications, email@example.com; 352-273-4137
GAINESVILLE, FL — In August of 2006, UF’s College of Education lost two of its most involved and beloved graduate students, but their memory lives on in a scholarship created by donations from their mother, friends, faculty and fellow students.
The college’s counselor education program has about 150 students, but they all felt the loss of David and Brian Marshall, according to Ana Puig, a doctoral student in counselor education at the time and now an associate scholar and research director in the college’s Office of Educational Research.
The Marshall brothers were killed in a single-car crash on a trip back to Florida from their hometown of Gloucester, Mass. Brian, 31, was a pursuing an M.Ed./Ed.S. degree in mental health counseling and David, 39, was working toward a doctoral degree in counselor education. Both were awarded posthumously in 2007.
Brian was one of Puig’s students, but she knew both brothers well. She remembers their generous spirit, something their mother, Esther Marshall, wanted to recognize with the scholarship. Esther took out a life-insurance policy and has pledged the benefit amount from her estate toward the $30,000 needed to create a permanent endowed scholarship.
“She wants to make sure the annual scholarship goes to counselor education students who are known for being like her sons were–always active, always involved, always helping other people,” Puig said.
College officials say the $30,000 goal hasn’t been reached yet, but Puig said faculty and students in the counselor education program still hope to raise the money needed to contribute toward the permanent endowment. Meanwhile, the college has already awarded a scholarship for each of the past five years to a deserving counselor ed student with funds contributed by others who knew, or have since heard about, the Marshall brothers and what they meant to the program.
The scholarship is open to graduate students of counselor education. Interested students can find more information on how to apply for the $500 scholarship at https://education.ufl.edu/student-services/scholarships/.
The Marshall brothers were always together and known for their love of sports (especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots), their generosity and hosting Gator football game-day parties with New England clam chowder and chili.
David was founder of the Florida Center of Performance Excellence, a sports psychology counseling center. They both worked closely with athletes as part of their internship training and David developed a popular undergraduate course focused on sports performance. The course was modeled after one developed by the U.S. Military Academy and augmented with material developed by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Offered as an undergraduate elective by the counselor education program, it proved especially attractive to Gator student athletes, many of whom attended the college’s memorial service for the brothers.
They were both heavily involved in student organizations including UF’s student Beta chapter of Chi Sigma Iota International, the counselor education profession’s honor society, for whom David served as president. David even cut his famous ponytail to raise over $1,000 for Relay for Life, one of the organization’s fundraisers. He also won an international Outstanding Service Award from the group, in part, for this creative fundraising idea.
“If you needed something, you’d call Brian or Dave, and they’d come,” Puig said. “If you’d call one, the other would always show up. They were inseparable.”
As namesakes of the scholarship started by their mother, they shall be remembered that way for many years to come at the College of Education.
Source: Ana Puig, associate scholar and director of research, UF College of Education; firstname.lastname@example.org; 352-273-4121
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director of news and communications, UF College of Education; email@example.com; 352-273-4137.
Writer: Jessica Bradley, intern, news and communications, UF College of Education.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When former teachers Bill and Robbie Hedges saw their 2005 donation of almost $2 million to the University of Florida’s College of Education drop in value during the global financial crisis in recent years, they feared the education research supported by their gift would suffer from the reduced funding.
College officials announced today that the retired Gainesville couple has added another $63,000 to their endowed research fund to restore its value to previous levels.
“We had hoped our gift would grow (through the university foundation’s investment program), but the stock market tanked shortly after we made it,” said Bill Hedges, a retired professor emeritus at the College of Education. “We had some stocks that appreciated, so we decided to add another contribution to make up for the loss. We wanted to keep the research fund strong.”
Hedges and his wife committed more than $1.9 million to the college six years ago to support research aiding slow learners. It was the second largest individual donation ever made to the College of Education. Their gift was made in the form of a charitable remainder trust, which provides them with a variable income for life until the trust terminates, when the remaining assets will be transferred to the college.
The resulting William D. and Robbie F. Hedges Research Fund will support sorely needed studies to develop better teaching methods and curriculum materials for marginal students who fall behind, become discouraged and tend to drop out of school before graduation. The Hedges’ latest gift will boost the amount of annual interest earned on the total fund value.
“We hope to generate more attention and research that yields a more pleasant and productive educational experience for this frequently overlooked and neglected segment of our school population,” said Hedges, who spent the final 20 years of his half-century teaching career on UF’s educational leadership faculty before retiring as professor emeritus in 1991. Robbie Hedges gave up teaching to raise their two sons in 1971 after they moved to Gainesville for her husband’s new UF faculty appointment.
“This gift is a testament to the Hedges’ belief that all children need specialized attention to their learning needs if they are to succeed in school and society,” said Tom Dana, associate dean for academic affairs at UF’s College of Education. “Their contribution will fund research that can make a significant difference in kids’ lives.”
WRITER/MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, director, COE News & Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org; 352-273-4137