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McGraw '40 donates $5 million for teaching and learning center

Publisher Harold McGraw Jr. '40 donated $5 million to the new Teaching and Learning Center, the University announced Saturday.

The Teaching and Learning Center will provide instruction and advice for professors and graduate student teachers, and will be housed in the new Campus Center. McGraw's donation will be used in part to incorporate multimedia technology into classes, according to Associate Provost Georgia Nugent '73, who is in charge of planning the center.

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Nugent said the center will be named after McGraw in recognition of his gift.

"Part of this Teaching and Learning Center that Harold Shapiro got interested in and excited about is writing," McGraw said. He added that he hopes the center will demonstrate "how you try to convey teaching and learning through the utilization of good writing."

McGraw said the motivation for his grant coincides with the passion that guided him as chairman and president of McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and 16-year chair of Princeton University Press – a passion for writing.

"I wasn't giving (the money) so much because I was in that field as a publisher, but because Harold Shapiro really wanted it as a part of the education there," McGraw said. McGraw's donation will go toward the center's $15 million operating budget, according to Provost Jeremiah Ostriker. Ostriker said the Teaching and Learning Center will cost $5 million to build.

"It's wonderful," Nugent said of McGraw's gift. "The center will be part of the Campus Center, so we won't see the physical manifestation of it until the Campus Center is built," she said.

Search for the director

"Harold Shapiro assured me that none of this (donation) would go into the bricks and mortar," McGraw said, adding, "The importance of this, more than anything else, is the director."

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"If he isn't good, if he isn't the kind of innovating and exciting teacher that can teach others. . . if he can't work with people back and forth, then we've got the wrong guy," McGraw said.

While McGraw will not be on the search committee for a teaching and learning center director, President Shapiro GS '64 said that he will seek McGraw's advice.

Nugent said the University has been soliciting a gift from McGraw for years. Shapiro agreed. "It has probably been since we started the capital campaign," Shapiro said.

Publishing and education

"McGraw's family and career have, of course, been involved in publishing and education, so there's a nice collocation with that," Nugent said.

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"He has been very supportive of our writing program and our journalists' program," Shapiro said, adding, "He always has had an interest in learning. In the end, it's wonderful, but not surprising, that he decided to contribute to our capital campaign in this way."

"He devoted so much of his life to literacy and writing," said Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel. "We're just fortunate enough to have someone so dedicated and generous," she said.

Shapiro said the Teaching and Learning Center will comprise an important part of his teaching-initiatives program. "I'd hesitate to say it's the comprehensive part of the program," Shapiro said of McGraw's gift, noting that the 250th fund for innovation and the visiting professors program have contributed to the teaching initiative.

McGraw said he believes a teaching and learning center is the best way he could contribute to the quality of the University, but he can see how others might have different priorities. "I have classmates who think Jadwin Gym is the greatest thing since swiss cheese," he said.

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