PULLMAN, Wash. — Pledging the largest individual gift for minority teacher education ever offered in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle businessman, philanthropist and Washington State University Regent Ken Alhadeff has guaranteed scholarship support totaling approximately $500,000 to the students who participated in the spring 1998 Future Teachers of Color (FTOC) recruitment event at the WSU campus at Pullman.
Alhadeff, a 1970 alumnus of WSU, made the pledge to the students at the Feb. 28 banquet where he was the keynote speaker, said Milton Lang, director of student recruitment for the WSU College of Education, who originated and directs the FTOC program. Alhadeff’s gift will be announced publicly at a WSU Regents meeting May 8, where Lang will present information about the FTOC program.
To the banquet audience of 70 high school juniors and seniors and 23 WSU students interested in becoming classroom teachers, Alhadeff pledged support that could total $6,000 per student. He pledged gifts of $500 to students enrolling as WSU freshmen pursuing degrees in education, $1,000 to students admitted to the WSU College of Education (typically in the junior year), $2,000 to seniors enrolled in the WSU teacher preparation program, and a total of $2,500 to each WSU graduate upon completion of their student teaching period.
“It was a spontaneous gesture that I stand by because I believe in this program,” Alhadeff said. “I want to help these kids.”
Alhadeff also offered a total of $2,000 for students who earn a teaching certificate from any other university. The pledge applies only to the students in attendance at the February FTOC event. Alhadeff has supported the innovative program in minority student recruitment since FTOC began in 1994, Lang said.
“He has been behind us since Day One,” Lang said. “He sponsored our first Seattle area FTOC event in 1994, and his support has just escalated ever since.”
“I had no idea Ken was going to make this incredibly generous offer,” Lang continued. “This is a gift of love. Ken understands that we really need more minority teachers to serve as role models in our classrooms. He knows that would make the world a better place. He is really passionate about that.”
Alhadeff’s pledge will result in more students enrolling at WSU’s College of Education, Lang said. While it is too early in the season to compile final numbers, Lang said that of the 34 high school seniors at the FTOC event, 13 have already decided to enroll at WSU. The level of interest shown by all the high school students is much higher, he added, now that they know they can count on that scholarship support.
In the four previous years, from a total of 140 student participants in the spring FTOC events, 22 minority students chose to enroll at WSU, Lang said.
Alhadeff received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from WSU and is well-known as one of Seattle’s most generous philanthropists and civic leaders, especially for youth organizations. He is the chairman of Elttaes Enterprises, president and chief executive officer of MiKen Properties, Inc., and director of Martin Smith, Inc.