Johnston family donates $100,000 to furnish early education classroom at EMU College of Education
YPSILANTI — A $100,000 pledge from Robert L. Johnston, a long-time friend of Eastern Michigan University and emeritus trustee of the EMU Foundation, will furnish an early education classroom and resource library in memory of his late wife, Gail E. Johnston, who died Dec. 22, 2005.
Gail Johnston taught mentally, physically and financially challenged children during her career as an educator.
The classroom, located in Room 223 of the John W. Porter Building on EMU’s campus, was dedicated at a private reception Friday, Sept. 29. Cutting the ribbon to the newly outfitted room and resource library were Johnston and his daughter, Denise Johnston.
Robert Johnston retired in 1994 as vice-chairman of Gerber Products Co., after a 38-year career with the corporation. He has served as chair of the EMU Foundation Board of Trustees and was honored by the EMU Alumni Association with the Dr. John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He is a resident of Fremont, Mich.
“The six faculty in the early childhood education program are very grateful for the Johnston gift. We have a large number of teaching resources which will now be kept in the Gail E. Johnston Classroom and Resource Library for students to use in the more than twenty classes we offer at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Karen Paciorek, professor of early childhood education.
The classroom and resource library will provide a learning environment for future and current early childhood teachers and leaders.
A corner of the room also will reflect a typical early childhood classroom. Educational materials will be updated using funds from the Gail Johnston Early Childhood Resource Endowment to ensure that the materials are always current.
The early childhood education (ECE) program, part of EMU’s Department of Teacher Education, specifically focuses on preparing teachers to work with children from birth through age eight. Students earn elementary certification (K-5th grade all subjects) and state endorsement in ECE.
The graduate program is designed to prepare teachers to be leaders in their programs and advocates for young children and their families.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
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