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This summer, Global TC Day 2015 once again united TC alumni, students - both current and newly admitted, faculty, staff and friends at more than 42 events in 19 U.S. States, 12 countries and 40 cities all over the world.
Global TC Day first launched in 2013 during Teachers College's 125th Anniversary celebration, and it was met with widespread success. "When we saw the buzz created on social media with so many smiling faces and heard about the meaningful connections that alumni, students and faculty were making at these events - especially for alumni far from New York - we knew we had to make this a regular alumni program," Senior Director of Alumni Relations, Rosella Garcia said.
This year's festivities aimed to strengthen ties to TC and also celebrate the exciting news that the Where the Future Comes First Campaign, has soared beyond the $200-million mark. The noteworthy milestone, which marked the two-thirds point in TC's historic $300-million campaign (the largest ever for a school of education), signaled the start of an exciting new push to reach the finish line, with a renewed focus on student scholarship and participation.
With more than 90,000 alumni and friends worldwide, Global TC Day 2015 offered many ways to reconnect and fortify the Teachers College community all over the map between July 2 and August 11. TC alumni played instrumental roles in orchestrating and hosting a majority of the celebrations, where they not only opened their arms but in some case their homes and workplaces, too, for activities ranging from cultural to culinary, and from family days to social nights. Several events highlighted the extraordinary accomplishments of TC alumni, as well, such as visits to view the influential art of Agnes Martin (M.A. '52) onexhibit at the Tate Modern museum in London and the striking work of Elaine Sturtevant (M.A. '75) showing at MOCA in Los Angeles. Alumni were also treated to an exclusive private tour at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with Professor Judy Burton, and a behind the scenes visit at the J. Paul Getty Museum in LA, led by alumna and education specialist Rebecca Edwards (M.A. '00).
Stepping outside the box, and into the fresh air, Global TC Day 2015 took advantage of the summer weather, with gatherings at some of the U.S.'s finest botanical gardens in Miami and NYC. Alumnus Lin Lougheed (Ed.D. '77) arranged a rare visit to the home and private garden of world-famous plant explorer and botanist David Fairchild at the Kampong National Tropical Botanical Garden for alumni in Florida, where guests were treated to a tour led by the Kampong's Director, Mike Maunder, during which he shared accounts of Fairchild's work as a teacher, as well as how the Kampong continues to educate the community.
Meanwhile in NYC, over 100 local alumni and their families met uptown to spend a day at the New York Botanical Garden discovering herbs in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, in addition to the ongoing Frida Kahlo exhibit. Alumna Ruth King (M.A. '70) reflected "it was a brave undertaking, but it was so much fun." Family-friendly fun also took center stage in Rockville Centre, NY, where alumna Ray Ann Havasy (Ed.D. '97), Director of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, hosted a unique, up-close-and-personal day at the Center's live animal exhibit. "It was an opportunity for visitors, both young and young-at-heart, to see and touch a range of scaly and furry creatures including a snake, alligator and a chinchilla," Kerry Donohue said.
Open-air, big red tour buses also played an important role in connecting another group of over 100 TC alumni, students and staff who had the chance to play tourists in New York City for the evening, where host and TC Alumni Council President, Jeffrey Putman (Ed.D. '11) snapped beautiful pictures of the City's skyline, one of which was featured on a local newscast as the social media image of the day.
In Teaneck, NJ, the alumni instantly felt right at home with each other upon meeting, and as they were relaying their TC stories, some discovered they shared many things in common, from cherished professors and academic advisors, to academic programs that set them on their paths to fulfilling careers. Each shared a deep love and appreciation for TC and how it shaped their lives professionally and personally. Alumna Mary Farrell (Ph.D. '79) mentioned "only having plans to be a wife and homemaker", until she enrolled at TC and developed a passion for teaching which led her to pursue her doctorate in Special Education.
With nearly 300 international students graduating from TC annually, it is safe to say that TC alumni reach the four corners of the earth, living in 130 countries, and as such event plans crisscrossed the globe as both recent and veteran alumni, celebrated in several hemispheres with gatherings taking place in South Korea, Singapore, The Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand among others.
Embracing the theme "Think Globally; Celebrate Locally," Global TC Day 2015 inspired the creation of new regional alumni groups in both Singapore and Manila; highlighted important international collaborations and encouraged new group-funded scholarships, like the Korea 125th Anniversary Scholarship Fund initiated in Seoul following 2013's global celebrations.
2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Christine Lee Kim Eng (Ed.D. '92) was also honored by her local alumni community for her outstanding achievements in the landscape of Singaporean and global education, where TC Faculty member A. Lin Goodwin (Ed.D. '87), Evenden Professor of Education , Vice Dean, NIE's Ruth Wong Professor of Teacher Education and Co-Director of the joint program with TC and NIE, was in attendance as were many current TC students - who are currently enrolled in the joint TC and NIE Masters in Leadership and Educational Change. Though not everyone was a local, one alumna who was in the middle of a move from Australia to Jakarta, saw the event details in her monthly e-newsletter and planned a lay-over in Singapore so that she could attend.
From Manila, Maria "Mia" Theresa Tulao-Fernando (M.A. '05) reported that the group of 11 alumni she met with had grown "from a meager group of 4 in our previous reunion. It was a fun night spent getting to know our fellow alumni and making connections for future projects. None of us had met while we were at TC. We are looking forward to seeing each other again soon, and getting in touch with the 100 or so TC Philippines alumni we never knew existed!"
Japan is home to the largest population of TC alumni living outside of the US, with nearly 1000 alumni on the island, and two celebrations took place there. The first was a half-day symposium which featured 20 minute, alumni-led presentations book-ended by longer alumni keynotes, allowing more than 20 alumni to take center stage and learn from one another. And ashinkansen-bullet-train-away, in the ancient city of Kyoto, traditional Japanese culture was the order of the day as alumni gathered for lunch at the oldest tofu restaurant in town, in a building that was originally the site of a medical school over a century ago. Alumni who'd never met before quickly learned they shared not only mentors at TC, but mutual friends too.
Taipei was the site of one of our largest international gatherings, and here too, we connected with many students and alumni and faculty too, several of whom were back in Taiwan to visit family for the summer, including TC lecturer Sharon Chang.
Newly admitted students were invited to join the festivities and they, too, were grateful for the opportunity to meet local alumni, who in some cases provided advice far deeper than sharing the best spots near campus to eat, shop or relax. "Thank you so much for the opportunity to meet with admirable alumni! That small evening seemed to have changed my life in a significant way," Mark Johnson shared. Mark attended the Dallas gathering as soon-to-be MA student, but after conferring with the alumni present he re-applied the following day and will now begin classes in the Fall as doctoral student.
In Chicago, one admitted student and her mother came and as they were leaving her mother said, "I was concerned about sending my daughter all the way to New York City but now seeing all the amazing people she will be around I know she will be in great company!"
Current students also contributed to these celebrations and several Student Senate members attended events too. President Chelsey Saunders even organized and hosted an intimate gathering of alumni in Raleigh, NC. Other casual happy hours organized by alumni and staff took place in St. Louis, Austin, Houston, Iowa City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Santo Domingo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and Montreal. In Cleveland and Atlanta, alumni met over lunch, and a group in Phoenix took a private tour of the local Heard Museum.
We cannot thank our local alumni hosts enough for helping us to make these valuable connections. One Brazilian alumna Leticia Lyle (M.A. '11) even hosted two events in two different continents! She paired up with her "TC bestie," Kristy Banks (M.A. '10), to host a gathering in Seattle, and she also opened up her home for the second time in a row for local alumni in Sao Paulo.
Several other alumni also welcomed alumni into their homes such as Khun Peter Foley (Ed.D. '83) who hosted a book talk featuring Rattana Sae-Lao (Ph.D. '12) on her latest publication "A Critical Study of Thailand's Higher Education Reforms: The culture of borrowing" in his home in Bangkok. And in St. Paul, MN, Jane Taylor (Ed.D. '01) and her husband Carl Haugan and special guest TC Dean and Provost, Thomas James dined with alumni and friends. During dinner, Jane and Tom led a roundtable conversation as the lively group engaged in reflective conversations on the impact of TC in their lives.
Some common themes came up at many of the events: TC alumni are doing incredibly important and amazing work - making an impact all over the world. TC Alumni are passionate and dedicated to making the world a better place. And inevitably that passion leads to love, which is also always a theme at TC alumni events. Many TC Sweethearts came forward at various events, as alumni fondly recalled meeting the love of their life on campus. But for some these bonds of love and friendship didn't always begin under the gabled roofs of TC's campus. In Hanover, NH, two alumni who attended Ella Erway (Ed.D. '66) and Arno Bellack (Ed.D. '52), faculty-emeritus, recounted that while they were at TC around the same time, they didn't know each other then. They met 16 years ago at Kendall, the retirement home they both reside in now (they came to the event together).
As we close the books on Global TC Day 2015, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on all of the celebrations that took place near and far. Take a look back at all the memories made and shared with the TC Community. See for yourself by searching for #GlobalTCDay on social media. Teachers College is already looking forward to future celebrations at home and on the road, including the next series of Global TC Day events, slated for Summer 2017. But for now, take a look at the fall calendar of events.