Magazine Feature / People

Morgridges inspired by University’s commitment to education

Construction has begun on Ruffatto Hall, which will house the Morgridge College of Education. While the daily physical changes are capturing the neighborhood’s attention, John and Carrie Morgridge are more excited about what will happen inside the building when it is complete.

“We are excited about this project because Chancellor Robert Coombe set education — from early childhood through lifelong learning — as a priority,” says John Morgridge.

In 2007, the Morgridges made a $10 million gift to support the building and establish an endowment to create the college’s Reading Recovery University Training Center. Reading Recovery is a research-proven program that uses intense one-on-one tutoring to help the lowest-achieving first-grade readers reach grade-level expectations.

DU’s Reading Recovery center will coordinate professional development and training for the State of Colorado’s Reading Recovery teachers and leaders and also will concentrate on applied research. Because Reading Recovery teachers work in the schools, they are able to disseminate their knowledge to fellow teachers, maximizing their impact, Carrie Morgridge explains. Reading Recovery also is launching a new K-3 model, which she says will enable DU’s center to reach all teachers in Colorado through professional development programs.

Ginger Maloney, former dean of the college, says that the Morgridges are “committed to giving the gift of literacy to every child.”

“I was very fortunate to have their enthusiastic support for our vision from the very start,” says Maloney, noting that the Morgridges co-chaired the college’s campaign. “With their warmth and energy it is always fun to be with Carrie and John.”

“Literacy in education is our top priority,” says Carrie, a member of DU’s Board of Trustees. “Everything we do is layered around improving literacy.”

And because multiple factors contribute to a child’s success in achieving literacy, the Morgridges have made substantial gifts across the country in support of related issues, including health in education, homelessness and 21st century classrooms. For this extraordinary support, they are receiving the Distinguished Friend of Education Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education this summer.

Morgridge College Interim Dean Jerry Wartgow says the Morgridge gift has enabled the University to exhibit a rare commitment to the teaching profession.

“With the onset of advanced technology in the classroom over the last 10 years, I believe this building will be a huge asset in helping us train teachers for today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms.”

That’s already happening. In May 2009 the college and the Morgridges co-sponsored a teacher training conference to demonstrate best instructional strategies for using 21st century technology in classrooms. More than 700 teachers attended, representing public, private and charter schools.

“We are thrilled with the University’s leadership to be the first to host a conference with this type of impact for teachers,” Carrie says.


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