UVa Gets $5M Gift

By: Venton Blandin Email
By: Venton Blandin Email

December 6, 2006

The University of Virginia Community received a big boost thanks to a multi-million dollar donation. The five million dollar gift may be given to those on grounds, but it can affect each and every one of us. It will go to the Curry School of Education. Students there will use it to become better teachers, and in turn teach the younger kids who are our future.

A philanthropist, advocate, and the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television joined governor Tim Kaine and University of Virginia President John Casteen for a big announcement.

"The reason why I gave five million dollars to Curry is because I believe Curry is really the base of where everyone should look," said Black Entertainment Television Co-founder Sheila C. Johnson.

Sheila Johnson, who describes herself as a life-long educator, made the pledge because she feels the Curry School should be the model for all teaching institutions.

"UVa is terrific, but I fell in love with Curry because I am an educator, and a teacher first. I was really impressed with what Curry was doing," added Johnson.

The multi-million dollar gift will establish the Sheila C. Johnson Center of Human Services. It will help foster significant outreach efforts on behalf of the Curry School and the University of Virginia.

"Outreach programs on which we are focusing in this project include a communications disorders center, a center on reading and the acquisition of literacy, a center on counseling and career development, and one on clinical psychological services," said University of Virginia President John T. Casteen, III.

All those outreach programs are very important to the Curry School of Education as well as Virginia's governor. Governor Kaine called the gift a great surprise.

"It was a nice wonderful call out of the blue when she called me two months ago to say I want help because I want to give five million dollars to the Curry School," said Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

Governor Kaine added, "this was a great opportunity to form a partnership with a great friend."

Governor Kaine and Sheila Johnson have been good friends for the better part of five years.

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