Teachers College, Columbia University, announced it has received an $11 million commitment from longtime trustee Abby M. O’Neill to establish a scholarship fund, beginning with an outright $1 million gift. The fund will be used to establish the Abby M. O’Neill Fellowship Program “for outstanding individuals with a strong commitment to teaching,” the college says.
The gift creates a total of 24 fellowships of $35,000 each for students pursuing dual certifications in areas of high need in New York City public schools, according to the announcement. The first O’Neill Fellows will arrive at Teachers College this fall to earn dual certification in key areas, such as science/inclusive education, elementary education/bilingual, or TESOL (the teaching of English to speakers of other languages). Through the fellowship program, these candidates will be able to graduate virtually debt-free.
“We’re tremendously excited about this fellowship program as it speaks to the very essence of the TC mission,” said TC President Susan Fuhrman at a luncheon earlier today, at which Mrs. O’Neill was honored for her support of education and Teachers College, according to the announcement. “And we’re so grateful for Abby’s service as a trustee and for her wise counsel.”
O’Neill joined the TC board in 2004. Since then, the O’Neills have created a chaired professorship: the George and Abby O’Neill Economics and Education Chair, currently filled by Thomas Bailey, director of TC’s Community College Research Center and the National Center for Post-Secondary Research. Abby O’Neill also has served as a member of TC’s President’s Advisory Council.
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