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An Historic Gift


TC Trustee John Klingenstein

TC Trustee John Klingenstein was presented with a lifetime achievement award in February

An Historic Gift

Teachers College receives $20 million gift from John and Pat Klingenstein

In February, Teachers College received a $20 million gift—the largest in its history—from John and Pat Klingenstein for ongoing support of its Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership. The Klingenstein Center, founded in 1978, is the nation’s preeminent program for developing leaders of independent schools, claiming some 3,000 alumni at top private institutions. It serves 200 students annually through five programs, including degree and fellowship programs for early and mid-career teachers, administrators and experienced Heads of School.

John Klingenstein, a member of the Teachers College Board of Trustees since 1979, is President of the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, which also underwrites the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences. The Fund, established in 1946 by Mr. Klingenstein’s parents, has a gift history with Teachers College exceeding $20 million.

John Klingenstein’s daughter, Nancy, announced the new gift at a dinner held February 28th at which her father received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from Teachers College. The dinner celebrated the Klingenstein Center’s 30th anniversary.

“I am thrilled to announce that my parents have agreed to make a bequest that will permanently endow the Klingenstein Center,” Nancy Klingenstein Simpkins said. She added that the gift will enhance the Center’s generous tuition scholarships.

Professor Pearl Rock Kane, Klingenstein Center Chair, praised John Klingenstein for his “vision in recognizing the need to professionalize educational leadership for independent schools and for his sustained commitment to supporting innovative programs for leadership development.

“Through his own gentle and self-effacing demeanor, his kindness and generosity, and above all, his respect for learning and those who lead it, John has modeled the very leadership qualities that the Klingenstein Center aspires to instill in its graduates,” she said.

Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College, and Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, also praised Mr. Klingenstein and the Klingenstein Center.

“John Klingenstein has been a vital member of our Board for nearly 30 years, and his wise counsel, tireless energy and good will have set the standard for what it means to take an active and caring role in the life of an institution,” Fuhrman said.

Bollinger said that Klingenstein’s new gift is “magnificent” in part because “it comes after 30 years, which means that TC and the Klingenstein Center have lived up to the expectations of the donors—which is credit to the institution as well as the donors.”

To learn more about the Klingenstein Center for Independent School ζLeadership, visit

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