If you’ve ever thrown a really great party, you know that such occasions take on a life and momentum of their own. That special moment arrives when your role shifts from host to observer. You step back and watch the people you know, from all the different areas of your life, meeting, talking and discovering common interests. And you just know that long after the night has become a memory, the new connections and friendships created by its magic will continue to blossom and grow. 

That, in essence, is where we are with TC’s historic Campaign, Where the Future Comes First. The drinks and dinner have long since been served. But the conversation remains in full swing. New guests continue to arrive. Everyone’s having too good a time to go home. Best of all, the talk – in every corner of the room – is about how to create a better world.

Annual Report Donor Profiles Photo Grid

Click here to view our Donor Profiles. From top left: Beverly Miles; Monique Herena; Dinelia Rosa; Dawn Duquès; the Thanks a Million! student scholarship support campaign honoring TC President Susan Fuhrman; Carole Sleeper; the Abby M. O'Neill Fellowships; TC's partnership with Brazil's Lemann Foundation; support from the Alvin I. & Peggy S. Brown Family Charitable Foundation, Inc. for research on the educational value of failure

As of February 1st, we have raised a total of $317 million – including almost $90 million toward our top priority of creating student scholarship support – and the gifts have kept coming. The Campaign roared to life five years ago because you – our passionate and visionary supporters and friends – were out there, just waiting for the invitation to make it all happen. And it has succeeded beyond our highest expectations because you have discovered that in supporting TC, you can fulfill your dreams by working side by side with our talented faculty and students to create solutions to some of the most challenging problems of our era.

Consider the donors and gifts featured in this section of our Annual Report, which touch on all three of our Campaign’s major priorities.

The most important of those aims is increasing scholarship support for our talented, idealistic students. Of course, every institution wants to support its students. But our students, who often come to TC with significant experience serving on the front lines of education, health and psychology, represent more than just “the future”: They are also indispensable partners to our faculty right now and serve as critically important emissaries from TC who work in schools, community organizations, health clinics and NGOs even as they earn their degrees. We need them to do what they do – and so does New York City, the nation and the world.

That’s why the late Abby O’Neill, our wonderful Trustee Emerita who passed away in 2017, created the Abby M. O’Neill Teaching Fellowships.

Four years ago, Abby made her extraordinary $11 million gift to TC because she cared passionately about ensuring great teaching in New York City’s public schools. She wanted a Teachers College education to be affordable and accessible for all students, and for nothing to prevent TC from being the top choice for everyone the College admits.

“The Campaign roared to life because you, our passionate and visionary supporters and friends, were out there, just waiting for an invitation to make it all happen.”

Support Scholarship — Suzanne Murphy, Vice President, Development & External Affairs

TC since has run a pilot version of the O’Neill Fellowships, and this year, as the bulk of Abby’s gift hits the College, we are putting the finishing touches on what will now become one of the nation’s largest, most prestigious and most competitive private teaching fellowships. Of course, as generous as Abby’s gift is, we can confer the O’Neill Fellowships on only a relatively small group of recipients. But when you think of the ripple effect from even one great teacher – the number of lives touched, radiating outward through students and parents and future apprentice teachers mentored year after year in the classroom – you realize what a truly visionary gift Abby gave us, and how it will keep on giving for a long, long time to come.

Other donors are supporting our students in other fields. For example, there’s alumna Monique Herena, a YWCA “Woman of Influence” who heads human resources at BNY Mellon and has guided organizational change initiatives around the world. Monique cherished her experience in our Executive Master’s Program in Change Leadership (XMA) so much that she and her husband, Lou, have created the Herena Family Scholarship Fund to support TC students in Social-Organizational Psychology. As Monique says, the Herenas wanted to provide others with “the tools to become vehicles of change themselves” because “It’s what the world needs right now.”

Meanwhile, we continue to receive generous support from those who are inspired by the work of our brilliant faculty. Inspiration is most definitely the story behind a recent gift from the Alvin & Peggy Brown Family Foundation to advance a new interdisciplinary research initiative by TC’s Xiaodong Lin-Siegler, Professor of Cognitive Studies. Professor Lin-Siegler has made international headlines with her findings on the power of “failure education” – a teaching approach that emphasized the importance of struggle and mistake-making as the spark and pathway by which young people develop persistence and learn that great ideas most typically result from refining one’s thinking through ongoing trial and error. After meeting Professor Lin-Siegler, members of the Brown family were moved to contribute $1 million toward the establishment of a new multidisciplinary center at TC.

Our donors also continue to recognize that, in order to attract the very finest faculty and students, we need to bring all of TC’s historic campus into the 21st century. To that end, TC Trustee Dawn Duquès (M.A. ’76) and her husband, Ric, have made a $1 million gift to refurbish Room 136 in Thompson Hall as a cutting-edge teaching and learning space. Dawn, a talented interior designer, is personally overseeing the makeover, taking the time to meet and talk with our students about what they want and need in a classroom.

Clearly, TC continues to be the beneficiary of individuals whose means and vision enable them to make gifts of transformational scope and size. But there is much more to the story of our Campaign. This year, we raised more than $360,000 from gifts of $1,000 or less through the TC Annual Fund. And increasingly, we’re seeing groups of alumni and friends pool their resources to maximize their contributions to the College, most often to create student scholarship support by paying tribute to a particular professor or program. In this Annual Report, for example, you’ll read about the “Thanks a Million!” campaign that colleagues and friends of President Susan Fuhrman have created to pay tribute to her remarkable tenure at TC’s helm. Contributors to “Thanks a Million!” can give either to the Susan H. Fuhrman Endowed Scholarship, which supports students who “embrace a multidisciplinary approach in their work,” or the TC Annual Fund.

Which brings me back to that figurative party that just keeps on going here at the College. There’s no line or rope outside, and no bouncers at the door. You don’t need a special invitation. Your friends are all here and can’t wait to see you.

Come join the party now, and help us to build a better world.

Suzanne Murphy Signature

Suzanne M. Murphy (M.Ed. ’99, M.A. ’96)
Vice President, Development & External Affairs