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TC at 125: The Future Begins Now

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President Susan Fuhrman

President Susan Fuhrman

As we near the close of our year-long 125th anniversary celebration, we have so many wonderful memories to cherish – with more to come. From the spirited dedication of Teachers College Way in September to Tony Bennett serenading us a cappella on the stage of the Apollo Theater at our benefit gala in November, TC’s celebration has been full of remarkable, unforgettable moments.

The gala was a true TC family event – with more than 600 students, faculty, alumni, trustees, friends, and staff enjoying a rousing show that paid tribute to our historic legacy and our illustrious honorees. The post-show party continued with a most memorable sight: the youngest to the most senior members of our TC family mingling and dancing on the Apollo stage as a DJ kept the beat going.

But most important, the gala raised $1.4 million for student scholarships and fellowships, which is our major fund-raising priority. That evening, Dr. Ruth Westheimer spoke passionately about her dream to come to TC because “it was head and shoulders above every other graduate school of education, period,” and her eagerness to give back right away by establishing a student scholarship. What a great example of the kind of commitment to TC that we will build on with our $300 million campaign Where the Future Comes First: The Campaign for Teachers College.

Our campaign name pays tribute to TC’s illustrious Legacy of Firsts – our 125-year tradition of pioneering and leading numerous fields that have changed the world. A successful campaign is essential to the future of our College – a future that is reflected in our giving opportunities. The campaign has four funding priorities: Scholarships and fellowships, faculty and program support, campus renewal and technology, and financial flexibility through building the TC Fund. We also will engage our more than 90,000 alumni and friends – connecting them to TC and to each other. We’re almost halfway to our $300 million goal with $145 million raised so far.

As our campaign priorities indicate, our future begins with our students. So many TC students come here because they want to make a positive difference through public service careers in education, psychology, and health. Our goal with the campaign is to enhance the College’s capacity to continue to attract the best and the brightest students who are driven to serve, and provide financial support to free them from the crushing burden of student loan debt.

Another major priority is investment in the groundbreaking work of our world-class faculty, and growth of our programs and partnerships with local and global impact. Our faculty today are creating TC’s future firsts by building and shaping fields of inquiry with real-world impact and influence. We want to support our faculty so they can continue to produce the extraordinary work that transforms schools, communities, and nations.

I invite you to learn more about the campaign and welcome your ideas about how we can actively engage our TC family around the world to reach our goals. This is a campaign for TC’s future and for all of us work every day to advance our legacy for the greater good.

In that spirit, we’re hosting a culminating event for our 125th anniversary: Testing Then and Now: Building on a Legacy in Educational Measurement, Assessment and Evaluation, on Dec. 9. This international conference brings distinguished experts from around the world to TC to explore the history and the future of educational measurement, assessment and evaluation – a field pioneered at TC beginning in the early 20th century with the work of E.L. Thorndike, who developed the first “standard scale” to measure student learning.  The fact that the conference springs from a partnership of the Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative (AERI)  with our Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis, the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, and the Gordon Commission, which is led by TC icon Edmund Gordon, underscores the diverse and multidisciplinary nature of our enterprises that sustains our leadership in education.         

While the end of the semester brings us all a flurry of work and activity, I hope you will take a break to celebrate the season at the annual TC holiday party, which will be held on Dec. 16, from 3-5 p.m., in Everett Lounge and the Zankel hallway. The theme for our party is Past, Present & Future and will feature festive food and drink as well as entertainment by TC musicians. We’ll also “bury” the TC Digital Time Capsule, which will be “opened” in 125 years. As far as we know, this is the world’s first online time capsule and will give future generations at TC a glimpse into life at the College in 2013. While I’m sure our technology will seem antiquated in 2138 to the people of TC, our ideas will seem quite contemporary. I look forward to seeing you at the party and wish for all of you a happy and healthy holiday season.

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