Dec 21, 2011    #216
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green

Soslands pledge $1.5 million gift to the UMKC School of Education

Gift establishes endowed chair in urban teacher education

Kansas City, Mo. - The University of Missouri-Kansas City and the UMKC Foundation are pleased to announce a $1.5 million gift to the School of Education from the Sosland Foundation and the Vivian & Hymie J. Sosland Charitable Trust. It will fund in perpetuity the Vivian and Hymie Sosland Endowed Chair in Urban Teacher Education.

The establishment of an endowed chair in urban teacher education provides UMKC an opportunity to compete with schools such as UCLA, Columbia University, the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin in recruiting top talent in urban teacher education. The UMKC School of Education has developed an innovative approach to urban teaching, which may serve as a national model, and also is actively engaged with Kansas City-area school districts to support them in creating educational reform.

"Through implementation of the school's new strategic plan, our collective vision is for the school to make an even greater impact on urban education in Kansas City and beyond," said Wanda J. Blanchett, Ph.D., dean of the UMKC School of Education. "The addition of an endowed chair in urban teacher education will move us closer to realizing this vision and creating transformational changes in education. We are most grateful to the Sosland Foundation and the Vivian & Hymie J. Sosland Charitable Trust for this significant investment in our school."

The endowed chair will provide academic and curricular leadership to UMKC's teacher education programs and work closely in tandem with Dean Blanchett and the School's Urban Education Research Center, which will open in 2012. The Vivian and Hymie Sosland Endowed Chair also will work with the existing faculty to implement needed curriculum revisions in alignment with the School's vision of becoming a leading urban-serving school of education in the nation.

"Endowed faculty chairs are the highest honor bestowed on outstanding faculty members and, through the Sosland family's generosity, we will seek an outstanding educator with an exceptional background in urban teacher education," said Chancellor Leo E. Morton. "The endowed chair will serve as a mentor for graduate and undergraduate students, collaborate with other faculty members and interact with the Greater Kansas City community."

"With this generous commitment, the total raised during the Campaign for UMKC has exceeded $104 million of its $250 million goal," said Murray Blackwelder, president of the UMKC Foundation.

"The Sosland family is strongly committed to UMKC and to quality education throughout our city," said Debbie Sosland-Edelman, Executive Director of the Sosland Foundation and a Trustee of the Vivian and Hymie J Sosland Charitable Trust. "We are pleased to fund the Vivian and Hymie Sosland Endowed Chair in Urban Teacher Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's School of Education. This endowed chair affirms the Sosland Foundation's and the UMKC School of Education's serious commitment to urban education, teacher preparation and research."

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You also can find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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