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Reception Honors Dewey Circle Donors


Christina Davis receives the John Dewey Leadership Award from Joseph Brosnan and Arthur Levine..

Christina Davis receives the John Dewey Leadership Award from Joseph Brosnan and Arthur Levine.

A cabaret-inspired evening of food, drink, artwork displays and musical entertainment was provided as a thank you to members of the Teachers College John Dewey Circle, those who give $1,000 or more to the TC Annual Fund. Held at Casa Italiana, the reception brought together donors to the Fund and some of the Dewey scholars who benefit from their generosity.

Easels holding large photographs taken by students and faculty of the Art and Art Education Program were displayed throughout the reception and theater areas.

Among the musical performers, the first band to play was the Heritage School Jazz Band under the direction of Jesus Santiago, an M.A. graduate in Music Education from TC, who also played alto sax. The Heritage School is a New York City public high school in East Harlem devoted to the arts that was founded by Teachers College in 1997. Trustee Joyce Cowan has been an active supporter of the school since its inception.

President Arthur Levine spoke briefly after the performance and noted that the Heritage School was begun to provide quality instruction and rich curriculum to the high school students of East Harlem. "In last year's graduating class, all but three of the students went on to college," Levine noted. "And the other three joined the military. We are very proud."

He also noted that the number of members of the John Dewey Circle has grown from 86 members in the first year in 1996, to more than 200 members today. He outlined how their money has worked to provide so many necessary changes at TC-from professorships, renovations to the aging buildings, and scholarships to the best qualified students. What that translates to, he said, is that children who would not have had a prepared teacher will now be able to have one. "People who desperately wanted to go to Teachers College can do so because of the scholarships. People who wanted to become teachers will not have succumbed to the lure of law, medicine and business, where salaries are higher. Children who have not had an opportunity will now, because of your gifts, have an opportunity for the American dream. For that we are terribly grateful."

Levine then asked the Chair of the John Dewey Circle Network, Christina R. Davis, to join him in presenting this year's John Dewey Leadership Award, which he noted is always a surprise honor. What Davis did not know was that she was the one receiving the award.

"You earned your master's degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College and you have been a tireless volunteer here, giving back to the College by supporting alumni and development activities, attending numerous events, hosting committee meetings, and serving as a member of the Alumni Council for the past six years," Levine read. "We at Teachers College are extremely grateful to you for your generous gifts of time, guidance and support. It is because of the dedicated commitment of friends like you that we as an institution will be able to continue on our mission to improve the world."

"This gives me the opportunity to thank Arthur for allowing me to serve as Chair of the Dewey Circle Network," Davis responded. "And we all know how Arthur pulls you in with creative ideas and intelligence, his devotion to Teachers College and higher education, and with big bear hugs."

The Co-chairs of the Trustees, Antonia Grumbach and Jack Hyland, came to the microphone to announce the newest members of the Dewey Circle, who were presented with their medals. They included Darlyne Bailey, Laura Ellis, Erwin Flaxman and Linda Laughlin, Mary Alice Mazzara, MaryRose Barranco Morris, Theresa Mysack, Gloria Richards, Martha Roby Stevens, Ilona Anderson and William Saxe Eppes.

One of the students, Gina Buontempo, who is a Dewey scholar, addressed the donors as well. She spoke about being in the fourth year of the doctoral program in Social-Organizational Psychology, which, she said, requires a great deal of "hard work and dedication."

"Know that your donations to the fund do not go unrecognized," she said. "It is evident from your generosity that you still feel a connection to Teachers College, and it is this that serves as an inspiration to those of us who are currently attending the College."

The evening ended on a high note, with musical performances by Victor Lin and Sun Ho Joo, Ed.D. students in the Music Education Program at TC, and Naoko Hashimoto, an M.A. student in Music Education, playing Trio Sur Des Motifs Hongrois, Op. 36, by Franz Doppler, with piano, flute and violin. As a final treat, Lin's band, The Victor Lin Jazz Trio, awed the crowd with a rendition of My Shining Hour, and received a standing ovation.

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