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HGSE Receives Record-Setting Donation

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The Harvard Graduate School of Education received the largest donation in its 102-year history last week.

Provided by two anonymous Harvard Business School alumni, the gift includes a direct $30 million and an offer to match up to $10 million in additional donations. The donors earmarked the funds to provide scholarships for the school’s newly redesigned master’s program, Teaching and Teacher Leadership.

HGSE Dean Bridget T. Long said the school has already made progress toward raising the additional $10 million in donations to fulfill the matching offer. She noted she has worked with the two donors since the beginning of her tenure as dean and has engaged in discussions about the gift since last fall.

“I was incredibly, incredibly pleased — overjoyed is probably a better word — of their generosity and our ability to secure this gift,” Long said.

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Heather C. Hill, one of the program's co-chairs, recounted the moment she heard the news of the record-breaking donation.

“My jaw had dropped. I was on the floor — all of it, the whole nine yards,” she said.

Her co-chair Victor M. Pereira Jr. said the gift would allow a diverse cohort of current and future teachers to learn in the new master’s program.

“Simply put, it removes a barrier,” Pereira said.

Launching in 2022, the new master’s program combines three previous HGSE programs — the Harvard Teacher Fellows, the master’s-level Teacher’s Education Program, and the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program. It provides two tracks — one that allows novice and early-career teachers to earn their teaching certification and another for experienced teachers that focuses on developing leadership skills.

Long said the gift demonstrates an investment in teaching after public support for teachers has been “chipped away” over the last two years.

She added she hopes the donation will “send a signal about how important the profession is, and how important it is for all of us, for all organizations and individuals, to recognize and support and invest in our teachers.”

Since the donors were not HGSE alumni, Long pointed to the gift as an example of cross-school investment, a trend she said she hopes will continue.

“We have incredible, incredible alumni working all across the education ecosystem, but they don’t traditionally have the kinds of salaries that other schools’ alumni have, and so we do have to be reliant and casting a wide net and I think they’re sending that signal,” she said.

Long also said donations to HGSE have a far-reaching impact.

“When you invest in one of our students, you’re not only investing in one person, you’re investing in all the other students and families and communities that they then go on to help,” she said.


—Staff writer Paton D. Roberts can be reached at paton.roberts@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter at @paton_dr.

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