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College of Education receives $1.35 million gift to prepare future teachers

The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) has received a $1.35 million gift from the Lastinger Family Foundation, Inc. to provide scholarship funds to students pursuing teaching careers with the newly-created Lastinger Endowed Scholarship.

This gift will allow the College of Education to intentionally recruit, retain and graduate a diverse pipeline of highly skilled teacher candidates who are likely to remain in the Northeast Florida region and serve as leaders in education. Scholarship recipients will have an opportunity to earn a college education while limiting the financial hardships that often come with pursuing a degree.

“This need-based endowed scholarship will make such an impact and difference for our students striving to become teachers,” said Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey, dean of UNF’s COEHS. “The Lastinger Family has a special place in their heart for educators and their gift demonstrates a commitment to future teachers who will be difference-makers in the lives of thousands of children. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.”

The Lastinger Family Foundation, Inc., founded by Allen and Delores Lastinger, awards grants to organizations that make a difference in children’s lives by addressing needs related to education or well-being.

Allen Lastinger is the former president and chief operating officer at Barnett Bank where he worked for 27 years.  He retired in 1998 and they moved to St. Augustine where he pursued his interests in history.  

Delores received a Master in Education Administration and Supervision from UNF. While teaching school, Delores became passionate about the need for support of teachers and the improvement of professional teacher development.  She has devoted her time to advocacy for those who teach and those who learn.

“Support and respect for teachers directly impacts the quality of education and the success and well-being of our communities, said Delores Lastinger.

UNF’s College of Education and Human Services is a vital contributor to education, human services, and the sports community in the Northeast Florida region and beyond. UNF’s graduates remain in their teaching careers significantly longer than the national average, making them key drivers in the quality of education in the community. Seventy-nine percent of College of Education graduates remain in Northeast Florida and 1,300 of UNF graduates in Duval County Public Schools have ten or more years of teaching experience.

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