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Dr. Ruth L. Gottesman : A $6.5 Million Gift to Establish the Library of the Future

It was early evening when Ruth L. Gottesman, TC alumna, TC Trustee, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, arrived home.

The self-effacing authority on learning disabilities who, with her husband David, recently committed $6.5 million to establish TC's library of the future, talked about her work with great enthusiasm. Relaxed in her living room, Gottesman spoke about the Center at Albert Einstein and what her doctorate from TC means to her.

"I'm continually enthusiastic about the effectiveness of our Center programs for people with learning disabilities of all ages. Approximately 150 school-aged children and 45 adults come to the Center twice a week for an hour of individual help in reading, math, writing, and study skills.

"Most clients make substantial and meaningful improvement in their skills, and this often improves the quality of their lives. When I came to Einstein 30 years ago people didn't even know the term 'learning disabilities.' Now we are one of the largest and most comprehensive treatment facilities for learning disabilities in the greater New York area."

Gottesman paused for a moment, smiling widely, saying, "Going to Teachers College changed my life-it gave me a profession and a career. I am especially indebted to the late Professor Miriam Goldberg, for whom I worked as a research assistant on a large scale reading project in the New York City public schools. Miriam was an outstanding scholar, advocate and advisor to thousands of students. She was the kind of teacher who opened minds and touched hearts."

As the Chair of the Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, Gottesman is convinced that Teachers College is not an "ivory tower." She believes that the school focuses on difficult-to-solve educational problems in large urban areas and enlists its faculty and students to interact with administrators, teachers and children in the New York City public schools. It is the interplay between theory and practice and the effort to find solutions to challenging educational questions that make Teachers College the one-of-a-kind institution that it is. When speaking about the $6.5 million gift, which happens to be the largest single gift to the College, Gottesman predicted that "there will soon be other donors who will surpass our gift!"

She adds, "I am delighted and grateful that we are able to give this gift to an institution that we cherish and respect. Teachers College is one of those exceptional places that solves problems in education. It's a leader-and the kind of educational institution that our community, city, and nation need today."

Gottesman was explicit about reasons why she and her husband, David, wanted to jump-start support for TC's library. "Libraries are the heart and soul of an institution of learning. It will be difficult to predict the changes that need to take place in the library of the future. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to people from all over the world visiting the TC library via the Internet."previous page