JACKSONVILLE—Thanks to a former student two Ortega Elementary teachers will be remembered for years to come.
In 1998 Gilchrist Berg, founder of Water Street Capital, an investment management company, decided he wanted to honor two of his former teachers, Gladys Prior and Gladys Roddenberry, and planned a series of awards over five years in their names. Berg has now announced he will infuse the program with an additional $2 million donation to continue the funding for the program and help increase the amount of the awards as part of UNF’s capital campaign, Access to Excellence.
"I have decided to continue these awards because of the inspiration and real joy the teachers have given me," said Berg.
“There is nothing more important to our society than having excellent public schools,” said David Kline, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at UNF. “A central element in achieving this is attracting, preparing and retaining outstanding teachers. Gilchrist Berg recognizes the contribution good teachers have made to his life and decided to act directly and decisively both to better prepare teachers and to recognize excellent teachers. We are very pleased to work with him on these significant projects.”
"The college is focused on creating additional scholarship opportunities and faculty enhancements before the end of the campaign," said Katherine Kasten, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. "Gifts such as this one from Gilchrist Berg not only help us reach that goal but reaffirm the importance of education in our community." The awards, administered through the College of Education and Human Services include the Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence which carries a $10,000 cash award and the Gladys Roddenberry Graduate Fellowships for Teaching Excellence which include $3,000 scholarships.
In recognition of Berg’s gift the Prior Awards will increase incrementally over the years from $10,000 to $17,500 while the Roddenberry awards will rise from $3,500 to $5,000. Recipients of the Prior Awards must have taught in a public or private school for at least 10 years. Four winners a year are selected by a panel of school administrators, teachers and UNF professors. Over the past five years, 20 teachers have received the Prior Awards and 19 teachers have used the Roddenberry Award to further their education.
Prior, who died last May, began her teaching career as a music instructor at the former Landon High School in San Marco from 1935-1944. She returned to teaching in 1957 at Ortega Elementary where she remained until retiring in 1973. After 37 years in teaching Roddenberry retired in 1990.
The University’s capital campaign, Access to Excellence, is designed to raise $65 million in private funding to enhance academic and student programming, provide faculty development and upgrade the facilities and equipment of the colleges. As a result of the commitments received since the November 14, 2000 public announcement of the initiative, combined with donations received during the quiet phase, the Campaign has raised $62 million and achieved 95 percent of its overall goal.
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