GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) recently announced Anita Zucker, chair and CEO of The InterTech Group, Inc. (TIG), the 2019 honoree of the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education.
The James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education celebrates individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to advancing education and who have made a significant impact on the field nationally or internationally.
Inspired by the Hebrew creed, tikkun olam, meaning “repair the world,” Zucker has been a lifetime advocate for true, positive change in the world. From 2013 to 2018 alone, she donated more than $75 million to various philanthropic efforts with a particular focus on advancing education and health.
Zucker became the chair and CEO for the global conglomerate TIG in 2008 – when she also became the first and only female chair of the Hudson Bay Company in its more than 300-year history. Prior to these roles, she served as an elementary school teacher for more than 10 years.
Zucker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Florida, a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from the University of North Florida and honorary doctoral degrees from The Citadel, College of Charleston, Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina and Yeshiva University.
She is a fierce trailblazer for countless institutions, organizations and causes including her alma mater, UF. She has created and supported several efforts to enhance the institution since 1981.
“Anita is a true agent of change for education with an unparalleled commitment to its advancement,” said UF College of Education, Dean Glenn Good. “She has, and will remain, a passionate and pivotal voice in driving transformation in the field and creating opportunities for all to strive and succeed.”
In 2011, Zucker donated $1 million to establish the Anita Zucker professorship for Early Childhood Studies at the College, and in 2014, she also gifted $5 million, the largest gift to-date by an individual, to forward the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies.
“I am a champion for all education, however the child’s early years are so critically important to the foundation for learning that every child needs,” Zucker said. “This is when the greatest progress happens.”
In her honor, the center was renamed the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies.
“Demonstrated by her successes as an educator and businesswoman, she is uniquely positioned to lead innovative initiatives that span from cradle to career,” said Patricia Snyder, David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, professor of Special Education and Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Anita Zucker Center. “We are honored to be associated with a Center that bears her name and proud to be working every day to carry out her vision through our activities at the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies.”
Zucker is a dedicated citizen, passionate philanthropist and active contributor to her community and beyond, and has been the recipient of several esteemed awards for her commitment to education including the UF Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.
CASE presented the James L. Fisher Award to Zucker among friends and peers on July 15 during the Summit for Leaders in Advancement’s Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon and Annual Membership Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Receiving the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education is so meaningful to me,” Zucker said. “I work very hard to make our higher education institutions the best that they can be. I truly believe in helping young people with the opportunity to change their worlds by gaining knowledge through education. I also hope to help provide access and opportunity to the underserved.”
Good, Snyder and Maureen Conroy, Co-Director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, were in attendance at the luncheon to celebrate Zucker’s achievement.
“There is no one more deserving of this honor than Anita Zucker,” said Snyder.
For more information about the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education, visit https://www.case.org/james-l-fisher-award-distinguished-service-education.