ASU Names Mary Lou Fulton College of Education

By Sharon Keeler, ASU Media Relations

$50 million endowment made possible by the Fultons is the largest investment ever made by individual donors in a U.S. college of education

On May 9, ASU celebrated the naming of its College of Education in honor of Mary Lou Fulton - who, with her husband, Ira, recently gave the university a $50 million gift to set up an endowment for the college.

It is the largest gift ever given by individual donors to a college of education in the United States, according to the ASU Foundation.

In December, the Fultons, Arizona philanthropists and former students of the university announced a $100 million gift to ASU. Half of that gift was earmarked for the College of Education, where Mary Lou received her bachelor's degree in 1975.

Ira Fulton is president and chief executive officer of Fulton Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the booming Phoenix market.

On hand to celebrate the naming of the college were ASU President Michael Crow and Eugene Garcia, dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education and vice president for university-school partnerships, as well as many members of the ASU community.

Crow praised the Fultons for their incredible generosity, their unwavering commitment to ASU's future, and their confidence in ASU's emergence as a New American University.

Added Garcia, "This extraordinary investment will transform teacher education at ASU and widen its reach far beyond the university to make a high quality education possible for all of Arizona's children."

Also joining the festivities were Tom Horne, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, school board members and teachers, the Fultons and their family.

"Our future lies with our youth, and our young people need skilled and dedicated teachers to be successful," Ira Fulton said. "I'm thrilled to be able to make this investment in ASU's college of education in honor of my wife, Mary Lou. Her dedication to education, and willingness to go back to school and earn her degree after raising her family, has always been a wonderful example to everyone who knows her."

The endowment will help fund vital programs aimed at improving the college's teaching, research and outreach missions.

Initiatives supported by the Fulton investment include:
  • Scholarships for students entering the teaching field.
  • Stipends for students specializing in English as a Second Language instruction.
  • Mentorships and programming to support novice teachers.
  • Community partnerships to improve pre-K-12 education.
  • Endowed professorships to attract and retain the best education scholars.
  • Incentives for faculty research.

This latest gift follows a history of giving by the Fultons to the College of Education. In 2003, through a $5 million investment, the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Chair, graduate fellowships, scholarships and educational research fund were established.

It supports endowed fellowships for outstanding graduate students and scholarships for high-potential undergraduates preparing for teaching careers. It also supports the recruitment of a national expert in the area of reading and literacy studies.

Additionally, Ira Fulton in February 2005 established challenge grants for seven ASU schools, including the College of Education. The college answered the challenge by raising more than $106,000 in private donations by Dec. 31. The college received matching funds from Fulton Homes and the money has been added to the Dean's Investment Fund, which allows the college to strengthen a number of programs that directly support students.

The Mary Lou Fulton College of Education is also participating in a 2006 Fulton Challenge that concludes June 30.

The Fultons have contributed more than $162 million to ASU since 2003. They are the university's most generous donors.

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