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School of Education receives $500K gift for new undergraduate scholarships

| By Nick Alexopulos
Loyola University Maryland School of Education

Loyola University Maryland’s School of Education has received a $500,000 gift from Elaine and Anthony Grillo to establish a scholarship fund that each year will benefit two undergraduate education students who demonstrate financial need.

The Grillos, of New Hope, Pa., are strong advocates for Jesuit education and believe deeply in the value it brings to preparing students, particularly when those students are pursuing a career as educators themselves.

“It’s clear the School of Education is committed to providing its students with the best teacher preparation possible,” said Elaine Grillo. “Through outstanding curricular and experiential learning in the Jesuit tradition, Loyola education students become innovative teaching professionals who look beyond textbooks and traditional lesson plans to understand how each child learns and what classroom environment will make them successful.”

This gift is the Grillos’ second major gift to the School of Education. In 2012 they endowed the School’s first graduate fellowship, which supports student research.

Elaine Grillo formerly taught kindergarten and first grade in a West Orange, N.J., public school, and she recently completed five years of service on the School of Education’s Board of Advisors. Her husband, Anthony, works in private equity. Their son and two daughters attended Jesuit universities; their older daughter, Elizabeth, graduated from Loyola’s undergraduate teacher education program in 2008.

“Elizabeth received excellent preparation as a teacher, and we wanted to help make that same experience available to students who are highly qualified but cannot access a Jesuit education without financial support from scholarships,” said Elaine Grillo.

Undergraduate students in the School of Education have intensive field experiences every semester for four years—a unique approach to teacher preparation, anchored in meaningful integration between those field experiences and the flow of coursework.

“I am incredibly grateful to Elaine and Anthony for supporting the School of Education,” said Joshua Smith, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “Their gift will help us recruit more students into education and affirms our approach of immersing students in ongoing field experiences and providing high-touch support during student teaching.”

In addition, the Grillos are confident in School of Education leadership’s vision and current strategic priorities: engaged scholarship, instructional technology, and continuous improvement.

Through engaged scholarship, School of Education faculty are building strong partnerships with local K-12 schools and community-based organizations by working closely with teachers, counselors, and administrators to co-construct and answer some of the most important questions of the day in education, drawing from Loyola students’ coursework and faculty scholarship/expertise. Bolstering instructional technology ensures students have access to the latest classroom technology so they can be more effective teachers in leading innovative school districts. With continuous improvement, Smith and his leadership team are using data to inform decisions about the curriculum and how to better serve students once they graduate.

The School of Education has already made an investment in an instructional technology domain where Loyola alumni and faculty are building a community of new Loyola graduates—first-year and second-year teachers—and mentoring them at no cost. Over the last two years, more than 40 percent of Loyola education graduates have stayed in the Baltimore region.

“The School of Education is looking forward with a focus on students and learning,” said Elaine Grillo. “It is our responsibility to support their work.”

More details on scholarship opportunities through the new Elaine and Anthony Grillo Endowed Scholarship in Education fund will be available at a later date.

With the Grillos’ gift included in Loyola’s $100 million Bright Minds, Bold Hearts comprehensive campaign for strategic academic, service, and experiential programs and initiatives at the University, the total raised to date is more than $72 million. Their gift is the largest individual commitment to the School of Education since its founding in 2009.

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