Grant will support Towson University’s preeminence in preparing teachers and health care professionals
The Kahlert Foundation has awarded Towson University a record-setting $3 million grant to provide support for major initiatives, advancing the university’s preeminence as a leader in preparing Maryland’s teachers and health care professionals.
This historic gift is the largest from a foundation with ties to a TU alum. Roberta Kahlert ’69 and her husband, Greg, both serve on The Kahlert Foundation board.
“For several years, Roberta and Greg Kahlert’s generous support has provided faculty with the resources to advance two major signature programs, Towson UTeach and English Language Learners, in support of the outstanding teacher preparation here at Towson University,” TU President Kim Schatzel says. “The Kahlerts’ gift will further the excellence of these programs and their legacy of generous support.”
The Kahlerts also extended their philanthropic impact at TU by providing support for the construction of the new College of Health Professions building. This 229,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art academic building, planned to open in 2024, will further Towson University’s leadership in providing more health care professionals than any other university in Maryland.
“Their gift will enhance excellence in academic programs and research,” President Schatzel says. “I am so grateful to Roberta and Greg and the Kahlert Foundation for their vision, partnership and extraordinary support.”
The grant designates $1.3 million for UTeach, $1 million for building construction and $700,000 for English Language Learners (ELL) initiatives. The Kahlert Foundation supports health care, youth programs, education, veteran organizations and human services in the mid-Atlantic area—foci that dovetail with TU’s mission as a leading national university serving the public good.
“In deciding where to make philanthropic investments, The Kahlert Foundation looks for visionary leadership and innovative programs that align with the foundation’s priorities. Towson University checks these boxes,” Greg, president of The Kahlert Foundation, says. “We are proud to fuel TU’s momentum.”
Preparing educators through Towson UTeach
TU was the first Maryland higher education institution invited to adopt the UTeach program, which today includes 46 universities in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Since 2016, Towson UTeach has graduated 52 mathematics and 21 science teachers.
The Kahlert Foundation’s support provides financial aid, professional experiences and teaching tools for students.
“The Kahlert Foundation’s support of higher education, with a focus on STEM, aligns perfectly with the goals of the Towson UTeach program,” says David A. Vanko, dean of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics. “Our state’s and nation’s economic vitality depends upon scientifically literate citizens.”
Supporting English Language Learners
The Kahlert Foundation’s support of ELL initiatives holds special meaning for Roberta, who recalls helping English learners throughout her 28-year teaching career in Baltimore County Public Schools.
“The greatest joy for a teacher is seeing the look on a child’s face when she or he perseveres and succeeds,” she says. “For children who are English learners, this success comes more easily when they have a teacher trained to meet their needs.”
Towson University’s College of Education has been recognized by the United States Department of Education as a leader in preparing educators to meet the needs of ELL students. The Kahlert Foundation’s support for the ELL Student Success Fund has allowed TU to develop innovative curriculum for English learners, professional development for in-service teachers and afterschool and summer programs for early-childhood and elementary-age English learners.
Preparing frontline health care providers
Upon its completion in the coming years, the planned College of Health Professions building will serve as the college’s first singular home for more than 4,600 students, who have been scattered across campus and uptown.
The new building—funded by a combination of state-issued capital funds and philanthropic support—will provide the optimal environment to prepare students to meet the state’s deficit of more than 23,000 unfilled health profession positions. TU is the state’s leading provider of health care professionals and recently graduated dozens of nursing students early to support frontline care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now more than ever, we see health professionals for the true heroes that they are,” Greg says. “We are proud to support a learning environment for TU’s faculty and emerging health providers that ensures they will thrive in their professions.”
Continuing long-standing support of TU
Since 2015, the Kahlert Foundation has gifted $930,000 for the Science Complex due to open in spring 2021, the Towson UTeach program and scholarships, ELL initiatives and improvements to the South Campus Fields project, bringing the foundation’s total support for TU to $3.93 million, including the most recent donation.
The Kahlert Foundation grant is the most recent in a series of seven-figure gifts secured by Towson University since the start of the fall term. Continuing the momentum of record fundraising, this autumn has included donations of $1 million from Tom Beyard ’77 and retired professor Eddie Loh, plus a record $5.3 million donation by Fran Soistman ’79.
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Gifts to TU change lives every day. Philanthropic support for Towson University and giving to the Towson University Foundation provides vital resources that allow our campus and community to thrive.
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson
University: Culture of Philanthropy and TU Matters to Maryland.