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Retired professor invests in urban education

The yards of notes and investment logs have been a part of Dr. Lynne Raiser’s life for many years, and now that homemade scroll — pieced together with scrap paper over a lifetime — tells a new story.

raiser holding up a paperThere is no doubt that her husband was thrifty and that he kept meticulous records of his investments. That frugality, Raiser said, made it possible for her to establish The Victor and Lynne Raiser Urban Education Endowment at UNF aimed at improving education for urban youth.

“We were both in public service. Neither made much,but over a lifetime Vic saved to be sure there was enough for our possible healthcare needs,” she said, chuckling as she recalled the scrolls he maintained to track his investments, which she called his Monopoly money.

After 50 years as a public school teacher and later, as a UNF education professor, Raiser knows that poverty is the root cause of struggling inner city schools. Fiercely dedicated to UNF where she taught for decades, and where both her children are alumni, she created the endowment to help maintain a focus on urban public schools. “I just hope my small contribution can make sure we don’t abandon these inner city kids,” she said. Currently supporting the Center for Urban Education and Policy, the endowment will continue to fund programs serving urban students.

Raiser said her husband, who passed away in 2015, “spent nothing.” Living on her retirement in the same small house the couple bought 47 years ago, she knows he would be proud that his investments are helping to educate kids in need. Raiser also recently increased funding for UNF’s Ted Stephenson Endowed Baseball Scholarship she and her sister established in honor of their late father in 1993.

The Raisers’ daughter, Dr. Darby Delane, is a Gainesville educator who shares her mother’s passion for teaching urban children. Their son, Geoffrey, a mineral sands mine consultant, formerly managed UNF’s science labs. After retiring from UNF, Raiser stayed on campus 11 years teaching in the Educator Preparation Institute and coordinating the Gladys Prior Awards. Her endowment was inspired by Gilchrist Berg, a local investor who created and funds the Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence and the Gladys Roddenberry Fellowships to honor his grade school teachers.

Raiser hopes that her gift will inspire other UNF faculty, alumni and students to give, too.