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A $3 Million Gift by TC Trustee Ruth Gottesman Creates Scholarships for Preservice Science and Math Teachers

As Professor Emeritus at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Teachers College Trustee Ruth L. Gottesman (M.A., 1952; Ed.D., 1968) has seen firsthand the results of good teaching in science and math.

As Professor Emeritus at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Teachers College Trustee Ruth L. Gottesman (M.A., 1952; Ed.D., 1968) has seen firsthand the results of good teaching in science and math.

“When I interview people applying to medical school and ask why they want to be a doctor, so many say ‘It began with a wonderful biology teacher,’ or ‘with a wonderful math or physics teacher,’ or ‘with my sixth-grade science teacher,’” says Gottesman, who also chairs Einstein’s Board of Overseers. “That started them on a journey toward a career in medicine.”

So this year, when Teachers College publicly launched “Where the Future Comes First,” its $300 million Campaign that puts support for student scholarship as the top funding priority, Gottesman didn’t hesitate. In March, she pledged $3 million to establish the Ruth L. Gottesman Math & Science Education Scholarship Fund.

“There’s such a great need for teachers who can attract young people to these disciplines,” she says.

The first Gottesman Scholarships will be awarded in fall 2014.

“Ruth has done it again,” TC President Susan Fuhrman says of Gottesman, whose 2003 gift, made with her husband Sandy, created TC’s Gottesman Libraries. “She’s always interested in supporting TC’s areas of greatest need, and our greatest need right now is to support our students, who are our most precious resource. She has her eye on New York City’s needs, too, and she understand how important it to inspire students of all backgrounds to study math and science. We are so grateful to her for both her wisdom and generosity.”

“The professional education of Mathematics and Science secondary school teachers is one of the major goals of our nation as well as Teachers College,” says O. Roger Anderson, Professor of Natural Sciences and Chair of the Department of Math, Science & Technology. “The Gottesman endowed scholarship fund is a major contribution to our goal and will enable the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology to attract the very best prepared and highly dedicated students in our secondary science M.A. degree program.”

Erica Walker, Associated Professor of Mathematics & Education, agrees.  “Such a generous gift will allow our masters students--especially our prospective secondary teachers--the time and resources to focus on their academic studies and the opportunity to participate more actively in professional activities that will support their development as committed, effective, and first class teachers,” she says.  

Since the beginning of  the silent phase of the campaign in 2011, TC has increased its support of student scholarship by 43 percent. 

Gottesman's experience at TC started three years after she graduated from Barnard with a major in government. She enrolled at TC, earned an M.A. in Remedial Reading two and a half years later and began teaching reading in a newly integrated middle school in Greenburgh, New York.

“I had many inspiring teachers at TC,” she says. “Giants like Miriam Goldberg, Robert Thorndike and Rosa Hagen, George Bereday, Philip Phoenix, Harry Passow, Ann McKillop, Mildred Almy and Larry Cremin. So I know what a difference someone knowledgeable and exciting makes, and I credit my TC teachers for my subsequent success.”

In 1968, after receiving her Ed.D., Gottesman was hired at Einstein to develop a program for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities at the medical school's Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC). She served for years as the Center's Director of Psychoeducational Services, and in 1991 she expanded the program to include adults, becoming the founding Director of the Fisher Landau Center for Treatment of Learning Disabilities, an extension of CERC.  

Gottesman has served on TC’s board since 1990 and was a member of the TC Alumni Council from 1977 to 1980. 

“When Ruth sees a mission, she ploughs ahead and nothing stands in her way,” says TC Board Co-Chair Jack Hyland. “ As she did in funding the renovation of TC’s library, Ruth saw a new need: reinforcing and enlarging the number of U.S. students who are dedicated to math and the sciences.  Giving financial aid to the most highly qualified individuals helps strengthen the country by encouraging highly qualified students to come to TC.  This is what her present commitment is all about.”


Published Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2014