TC Launches $300 Million Fundraising Campaign for the Future | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC Launches $300 Million Fundraising Campaign for the Future

Speaking to an audience of some 600 alumni, faculty, students and friends of TC at the Apollo Theater, TC President Susan Fuhrman put the finishing touches on a yearlong celebration of the College's founding and announced a $300 million fundraising campaign
“Welcome to our celebration of 125 years on 125th Street – at the legendary Apollo Theater. Tonight we turn the page to the next chapter in TC’s illustrious history, as we set the stage for our sensational future.” 

Speaking to an audience of some 600 alumni, faculty, students and friends of Teachers College at the Apollo Theater on November 12, TC President Susan Fuhrman put the finishing touches on a yearlong celebration of the College’s founding and announced a $300 million fundraising campaign that will bolster TC’s capacity to transform education and learning throughout the 21st century.

Watch Honoree Speeches

James comer Laurie tisch
Jeffrey immelt
Tony bennett

Fuhrman kicked off Where the Future Comes First: The Campaign for Teachers College – the largest-ever campaign for a graduate school of education – at a benefit gala that celebrated TC’s 125-year legacy of pioneering new fields in education, health, psychology and leadership. The College has already raised $151 million toward its goal, including $1.4 million raised at the gala to benefit student scholarships and fellowships. During the evening Fuhrman also announced a bequest intention from singer and actress Barbra Streisand to create the Emanuel and Barbra Streisand Scholarship Fund, which will support TC’s master’s and doctoral students.

“Tonight is about funding the future,” Fuhrman said. “First and foremost, this means supporting our students. We must free them from the crushing burden of student loan debt. We must build TC’s capacity to continue to attract the best and the brightest.”

The evening’s highlight was, in Fuhrman’s words, a knockout Broadway-style” musical review that celebrated TC’s long history of creating new fields and paid tribute to gala’s five honorees: TC Trustee and pioneering school reformer James Comer; philanthropist and TC Board Vice Chair Laurie M. Tisch; Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE; and the wife-husband team of educator and TC alumna Susan Benedetto and singer Tony Bennett, who together co-founded Exploring the Arts, a nonprofit that strengthens the role of the arts in public high schools. 

The dinner –inspired by Laurie Tisch’s Green Cart Cookbook, with dishes created by Marcus Sameulsson, Karp Resources and alumna and Food Network host Ellie Krieger, featured toasts to the honorees by distinguished guests in the audience. Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo praised both Bennett and Benedetto for creating a “new reality that supports the arts in public high school education by giving students the chance to develop all their talent.” 

TC Trustee E. John Rosenwald quoted Vince Lombardi’s maxim that “the only place where success comes before hard work is in the dictionary,” adding he believes Lombardi was thinking of Immelt – “one of the world’s hardest working CEOs.”

Edmund Gordon offered a toast to “my younger brother, Jimmy Comer, for rallying the whole village.”

“What many of us think when we see you is: ‘Yes, we can,’” Gordon said.

And TC Board Co-Chair Jack Hyland called Tisch, who serves on the board of the New York Giants’ football team, “TC’s giant,” whose passion is “New York City, the great city we live in.”

The gala also included a special tribute, led by TC Board Co-Chair William D. Rueckert, to “an extraordinary group of visionary philanthropists whose generosity and leadership have transformed the College and set the stage for an even stronger TC.” 

The TC visionaries celebrated that evening included TC Professor Ann Boehm, who has made sustained contributions to the Neville Kaplan School Psychology Fund; Trustee Joyce Cowin, who was the founding funder of TC-affiliated Heritage School, and whose gifts created TC’s Cowin Conference Center and innovative Cowin Financial Literacy Program; Trustee Ruth Gottesman, who funded the creation of TC’s Gottesman Libraries; Trustee Elliot Jaffe, founder and longtime supporter of TC’s Peace Corps Fellows Program and supporter of the College’s new state-of-the-art classrooms; Trustee John Klingenstein and his wife, Pat Klingenstein, who created TC’s Klingenstein Center for Independent School Education; Enid (“Dinny”) Morse, who has extensively supported TC faculty and students, the College’s music education program, and the Teachers College Community School; the Riady Family, who have supported TC students from Southeast Asia; Trustee John Rosenwald, who has supported TC students, the Teachers College Community School, and projects to transform TC’s campus; Camilla M. Smith, whose generosity is creating a new state-of-the-art Learning Theatre at the Gottesman Libraries; TC Vice Chair Laurie M. Tisch; TC Board member Sue Ann Weinberg, a supporter of TC's faculty who has also contributed to ensure the continuing legacy of TC education historian Lawrence Cremin; the late TC Board Vice Chair Arthur Zankel, benefactor of TC's Zankel Urban Fellows program; and all the members of the College's leadership giving societies, which were represented at the Gala by Beverly Johnson, Elisa Gabelli Wilson and Shonu Pande.

Other celebrated members of the TC family also graced the stage. Ellie Krieger (M.S. ’94), host of Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite,” welcomed the guests to dinner. Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Ed.D. ’70), the pioneering radio and television sex therapist, joined with current students Amanda Washington, (the great-great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington) and Clifton Shambry, to urge the dinner guests to text-to-pledge scholarship contributions. And of course, the script for the evening's entertainment was written by TC alumnus Scott Cameron (M.A. '96).    

The evening ended with Fuhrman launching the campaign and calling on the audience to “make TC an even more dynamic community.”

“With 90,000 alumni and friends around the world – and here tonight in this theater – we will build a TC nation of ambassadors.”

Published Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013