BeFunky_gustavsen-IMG_8582School of Education Interim Dean Leif Gustavson’s Comments from the Blankley Endowed Chair Investure

March 6, 2014

There is a long and deep history of teacher education here at Arcadia University. From Beaver College’s beginnings, we have been at the forefront of  developing teachers and school leaders who embrace inclusive education. We design classrooms  and schools that see the challenges and opportunities within an ever-changing, global society as the real work of learning. At the very core of our being as a school is the belief in education as an engine for social justice – a force for change. We are over 9,000 alumni strong, positively impacting schools  and community organizations all over the country, indeed the globe, working to make these spaces more welcoming, more youth-centered, and more representative of the world in which we live.

And our alumni are teaching and leading in particularly challenging educational times right now. Shrinking budgets, persistent poverty, shallow understandings of how to assess learning, and lack of support (even belief?) from leaders in government, business, and the philanthropic world all converge to create a very unusual educational moment. But with challenging times comes real opportunity for innovation and change. Rosemary and Walt, your gift of this endowed chair helps us be a force for transforming education at this important moment and in perpetuity. The faculty and students of Arcadia University today are proud to stand on your shoulders, both continuing the strong legacy that is Education at Arcadia and pushing the boundaries of what teaching, learning, and leading can be.

The impact of this gift, like our influence on teaching, learning, and leading, is deep. It provides essential support for the research work we are doing as well as freeing us to break new ground. It amplifies our work and broadcasts it to the wider world. It connects us across Arcadia, to other universities, to other schools, to other countries, and to other communities. It will weave its way into our courses and our fieldwork. It enhances our reputation as a School of Education that doesn’t just know best practice, but defines it for others. It enables our students to work on cutting edge research with faculty that will then influence the way those students go out into the world as teachers and leaders to work with children. This gift contains multitudes.

Rosemary and Walt, you are forever connected to the School, the faculty, and the students. You are a part of our fabric, our history, our future. You are always welcome here. We look forward to deepening our relationship and sharing with you what your gift sows and reaps. Thank you for your vision, your belief in our work, and your passion for education as a way up and out. There truly aren’t enough words to express our thankfulness, so will you please join me by putting our hands together to express our collective gratitude for this profound and generous gift.


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