Gene and Kathy Jongsma have designated $1.3 million from their estate to establish the Jongsma Family School of Education Future Fund to give students cross-cultural experience through the Global Gateway for Teachers and support the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Gene Jongsma earned a Bachelor of Science in 1964 and an Ed.D. in 1971, and Kathy Jongsma studied at IU and later taught there from 1969 to 1971. Their international travel and work experiences have instilled in them the value of cross-cultural exchanges.
“We wanted to make it easier for other teachers and teacher educators to have similar experiences as part of their training,” they said.
Gene Jongsma was the first in his family to earn a college education. Because he had to support himself and pay his own expenses, he said he appreciates the value of a scholarship or financial assistance:
“We wanted to make those same opportunities available for other students, particularly those of underrepresented populations,” the Jongsmas added.
“Gene and Kathy Jongsma’s incredible gift promises a bright future for the Global Gateway for Teachers, strengthening our program’s visibility as a national leader in overseas student teaching and ensuring that our student teachers will be able to continue engaging in the international immersion experiences that profoundly shape who they are, professionally and personally,” said Laura Stachowski, gateway director. “The impact of the Jongsmas’ gift and their belief in the transformative power of international experiential learning will resonate for years to come, contributing to a more conscious and compassionate lens through which our student teachers – and, in turn, their future pupils – will view the world and the people who inhabit it.”
“The work of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the IU School of Education is critical, and this gift will help us increase our programming and reach out to underrepresented students,” said Carl Darnell, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are excited for the opportunities this gift will provide to students who seek the chance to thrive in higher education.”
The Jongsmas hope their gift will support positive change to public education.
“We believe that Global Gateway students who complete an international experience will learn to appreciate and value cultures other than their own,” they said. “Our wish is that they will become ‘citizens of the world’ and view their own country through a global lens.
“We hope that as future educators, they will impart the understandings they gain to the students they teach. We also hope that bright, motivated but underrepresented students will recognize their potential and grow more confident in reaching their goals and dreams.”