$2.3 million to train future teachers
Largest gift in School of Ed history supports nontraditional students and more
UNCG’s School of Education received the largest gift in its history Monday – $2.3 million from the Tom Haggai and Associates (THA) Foundation.
This gift, combined with matching funds secured by UNCG, will be used to create a permanent endowment for the Haggai Academy and other programs in support of teacher preparation.
“Since its inception in 1891, UNCG has a proud tradition of producing premiere educators who impact the lives of their students across the state and around the world,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “We could not be more grateful for Dr. Tom Haggai and the Tom Haggai and Associates Foundation for their generosity to UNCG and its School of Education, ensuring its continued success for many years to come.”
Haggai Academy will provide financial and professional support to nontraditional students in UNCG’s School of Education, such as undergraduate students over the age of 24, graduate students seeking initial teacher licensure as they earn a master’s degree in teaching, lateral entry teachers and veterans. It will also include a leadership component for these students – called Haggai Scholars – focusing on ethics, service learning and professional development.
“As schools nationwide are suffering from a shortage of teachers, Haggai Academy promises to produce exceptionally prepared and motivated classroom teachers who will have a profound impact on the thousands of students who pass through their classrooms,” said UNCG School of Education Dean Randy Penfield.
Founded on the principle of enriching the lives of children through education and community programming, THA has invested millions into helping nontraditional college students across the Southeast achieve their goal of becoming classroom teachers. More than $1 million of that money has gone to 170 students in UNCG’s School of Education.
The foundation held its final meeting Monday, where it announced its remaining funds would be gifted to UNCG to fund the Haggai Academy.
“Few organizations have had the opportunity to bring a close to their operations and, yet, continue their mission. Outstanding prospective teachers will now be known at UNCG as Haggai Scholars. As they receive the necessary funding for their education, the lives of young children will be improved,” said THA Board Chair Charles Greene.
The foundation was founded by Tom Haggai, a philanthropist, businessman, minister and recognized speaker. A former president and CEO of IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance), he now serves as chairman emeritus for the company. He also served as personnel director for the Boy Scouts of America from 1975 to 1977. Haggai has been asked to speak to groups with General Motors, Belk Department Stores and the Pentagon, as well as at military bases around the world.
Haggai earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky in 2013. In 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from UNCG.
He is married to Buren C. Haggai, a native of Jamestown, North Carolina. The Haggais have three daughters, a son and four grandchildren.
Story by Jeanie McDowell, University Communications