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Teachers College has received an extraordinary $11 million commitment from longtime Trustee Abby M. O'Neill. The gift reflects her passion for supporting aspiring teachers.
A Former Scholarship Recipient Gives Back
Debra Heinrich (M.A., M.Ed. '84)
Debra Heinrich (M.A., M.Ed. '84) was already working as a nurse when a colleague told her about the Nursing Education program at Teachers College. "She raved about how great the program was and how it would help my career," says Debra. "The most intriguing aspect about the program was its emphasis on research, so I enrolled. TC was definitely ahead of its time in the early 1980s as far as research was concerned."
Debra cites two factors that were critical to her success at TC – the mentorship of Eugene V. Martin, a professor of nursing affiliated with the College, and receiving the College's Professional Nurse Traineeship scholarship. "Without this scholarship, I could not have graduated," she says. "That's why I donate to TC."
Debra supports the TC Annual Fund because it underwrites every aspect of what the College does. "My gifts have always been unrestricted, so that TC can put them toward areas of immediate and greatest need."
She and her husband George also recently established The Heinrich Scholarship, dedicated in loving memory of her parents, Sylvia and Sid Stromberg. "They were inspiring parents who instilled in their children a life-long love of learning," says Debra.
Over the years, Debra has become increasingly involved with TC, attending as many events and activities on campus as possible. Last year she accepted invitations to join both the President's Advisory Council and the College's 125th Anniversary Steering Committee. "Today, TC has an even greater impact on education. Susan [Fuhrman] continues to strengthen TC's focus on research and practice while also actively working to keep alumni well informed and connected to the life of the College. If alumni feel connected, it's easy for them to stay involved."
After graduating from TC, Debra worked for many years as a nursing instructor for Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. "That job required a master's degree, so I could not have had it otherwise," she says. Debra also worked at Montefiore Hospital and held a faculty position at Hunter College School of Nursing before leaving to spend time with her sons, Andrew and Marc (currently students at Columbia College studying pre-med and law). She has stayed connected to TC throughout. "I will always remember the tremendous influence that TC had on my career, and now I am eager to help the College continue to strengthen its impact through its outstanding educational and research programs."