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John Dewey Circle Dinner Celebrates Leadership Donors

Members of the John Dewey Circle, those who have contributed $1,000 or more to the TC Fund, were honored at the fourth annual John Dewey Circle Dinner. More than 140 members attended the event, at which Enid W. Morse, Co-Chair of the Teachers College Trustees, was recognized with the John Dewey Leadership Award.

John Dewey Scholars receive financial assistance from the general scholarship fund, which is made up in part by gifts to the TC Fund. The scholars are named in honor of those members of the John Dewey Circle who contribute more than $10,000 to the TC Fund. They were invited to the dinner to meet their benefactors. More than a dozen Dewey Scholars were at Casa Italiana to share their joy with the growing membership of the John Dewey Circle.

Mary Le Donne, a doctoral student in Educational Psychology, is a Tess Magsaysay and Ken Boxley Dewey Scholar. She is studying the efficacy of resource programs available for parents to enhance their understanding of their child's mathematical abilities. She is an example of the remarkable breadth of accomplishment of the individual Dewey Scholars.

Joseph Brosnan, Vice President for Development and External Affairs, welcomed the audience and explained why the event is special. "It is a way of letting our donors know how important they are and how much we appreciate them," he said, adding. "The scholars also have an opportunity to know the individual who is enabling them to continue their scholarly work and to share their aspirations with them. It's a wonderfully exciting occasion for everyone."

Antonia Grumbach, who shares duties with Enid W. Morse as Co-Chair of the TC Trustees, thanked the members of the John Dewey Circle on the Board's behalf. She looked back to the first John Dewey Circle Dinner, remarking, "Both Dinny (Enid W. Morse) and I remember the first Dewey Circle Dinner where we could practically count all the people on one hand. We've come a long way."

Pat Nicholson, National Chair of the TC Fund, was also on hand to put into perspective the importance of the TC Fund, which passed the $1 million mark for the first time. She said the ever-growing Fund will have an enormous impact on the College's future. The $1.1 million raised in 1997-98 "means that President Levine will be able to support existing programs and generate new programs and research as if he had the use of the return on a $20 million endowment," she said.

For the past two years, Nicholson has also chaired the Dewey Circle Network, which consists of volunteers who solicit Dewey Circle gifts from fellow alums and act as "ambassadors" for the College. This form of solicitation has been very successful at increasing Dewey Circle membership.

Before introducing Dawn Marie Gavin, the evening's student speaker, Nicholson looked out at her audience and said, "I look forward to your continued support of the College and to your generous response when we again call upon you to renew, upgrade or volunteer your wisdom, time, and energy to reaching this year's achievable goal of $1.25 million."

Dawn Marie Gavin, is a Dewey Scholar, a doctoral student in Special Education and a New York City public school teacher of students with mental retardation. She charmed the audience with anecdotes of how TC's faculty is providing her with the skills to recognize the potential of her students. She added that the opportunity to be a Dewey Scholar has permitted her to pursue her career and dreams. "I now know that I can make more of a difference in the lives of the children I teach."

President Arthur Levine, who held up Gavin as "the best testimony of why gifts from the members of the Dewey Circle count," used the opportunity to mention how Dewey Circle gifts were being put to work. He spoke of the contributions of Angela Calabrese Barton, Assistant Professor of Science Education, in her effort to provide "science time" for homeless children as well as that of Lucy McCormick Calkins, Professor of English Education, whose work in more than 600 schools has helped redirect educational practice and policy in the teaching of reading and writing.

The surprise of the evening occurred when President Levine called on Enid W. Morse to accept the John Dewey Leadership Award. Levine, reading the citation said, "your membership in the Dewey Circle has enabled three students at Teachers College to be named Morse Scholars. Through your generous support of the Annual Fund, these students are able to concentrate more intently on their quest to become tomorrow's leaders."

Morse, obviously taken by the honor, said, "I am at a loss for words. I feel fortunate to be involved with Teachers College and its vision to improve education. Teachers College is a special place and I am grateful to play a role in its future."previous page