Thriller writer James Patterson and his wife, Susan, have committed to funding scholarships for eight more incoming Towson University freshmen who intend to be teachers.
The gift means the Pattersons will help 16 future educators attend Towson in the upcoming academic year. Eight of them are rising sophomores intending to declare majors in education. The other eight will be incoming freshmen who intend to be education majors.
James Patterson, the author of nearly 200 novels, has shifted his focus in recent years to middle school literacy, launching a website about the importance of reading, and writing books for that age group. His goal is to get children more engaged in reading and encourage a lifelong relationship with books. Patterson’s mother was a teacher, and he seeks out institutions with outstanding education programs. He discovered Towson University last year and offered the gift to President Maravene Loeschke.
“We are tremendously grateful to Mr. Patterson for his generosity, and for his understanding of the role good teachers play in children’s lives,” says Loeschke. “We were and remain honored that he sought out Towson University. We will do everything we can to maintain his confidence and continue being innovative leaders in teacher education.”
Patterson was also particularly impressed with the university’s Reading Clinic, which, since 1968, has paired trained TU students with community youth who need help with reading. Adult programs are also available.
“It is an honor to have James Patterson recognize the Reading Clinic’s work,” says Reading Clinic Director Gilda Martinez-Alba. “We are truly grateful that he is providing students with scholarships partly because of the Reading Clinic, and we cannot thank him enough.”
The Pattersons’ gift funds each student at $6,000 per year, or roughly the equivalent of in-state tuition for the year, minus fees, room and board. Not all of the recipients are in-state students. College of Education Dean Ray Lorion and other staff will invite selected incoming freshmen to apply and then choose the recipients.
“As the selection process for the second cohort gets underway, we have confidence that our initial group will become mentors to those who follow,” Lorion says.
“We are extremely proud of our Patterson Scholars and most sincerely grateful to Mr. Patterson for his generosity and recognition.”