P20 Press Conference
September 13, 2018
Dr. Beth Burns’ Remarks
Thank you, Ann. The Marygrove community looks forward to welcoming Starfish Family Services to campus.
Good morning, Mayor Duggan, to our partners who share the steps of this historic building with me, and to all of you. On behalf of the Marygrove College board of trustees, our alumni, faculty, staff, students and supporters, I want to welcome you all to this beautiful campus and thank all our partners for making this tremendous investment.
I’d like to give you a bit of history of this college and its commitment to Detroit’s children. We have been a teachers college since we were founded in 1905 in Monroe. Right from the start, Marygrove trained its graduates for gainful employment. Our students were always expected to practice what they learned. Our first president, Dr. Derry, called it “professionalism – or the art of making a living.” Thus, Marygrove became known for its highly trained graduates in the work force, primarily as teachers.
While at Marygrove, they were armed with skills they could put to immediate use, rooted in the principles of social justice.
As Sister Jane said earlier, our Board has had to make some very difficult decisions in the past several years, particularly last year with the closing of undergraduate programming. But they always remained committed to the city of Detroit, to the P-20 vision and to the importance of public education. Their vision of restoring Marygrove’s campus to a vibrant place, full of life, and contributing to the city, was fundamental to their thinking and to their decision to actively pursue possibilities for this campus.
Today’s announcement further strengthens Marygrove’s ability to continue to provide our innovative – and much-needed -- graduate programs, like Elementary/Early Childhood Education, Reading and Literacy, Special Education with its concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder; Educational Technology; Educational Leadership.
For those career-changers who want to become teachers, we provide a Master’s of Education with Teacher Certification; and have our Master in the Art of Teaching degree, which just added a STEM concentration for grades 3 to 5 teachers.
We’re soon to restart our Griot program that supports African American men to become certified teachers.
You will find Marygrove-trained teachers in schools all across the metro Detroit area, the state and far beyond Michigan. We have been fortunate to secure scholarship funds to assist new students in our Education programs. As we’ve been planning and exploring with U of M, we found that our education programs complement U of M’s programs and we look forward to this ongoing relationship.
Before I became president of Marygrove, I spent my career as a Family Practice physician, so the concept of a teaching institution is very familiar. And as a medical educator, I’m supportive of this approach and know that a teachers’ residency program will go a long way to assure their success.
One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I was a pre-school and kindergarten kid at Marygrove, so the return of early childhood education to campus is just a joy to hear. Marygrove’s been involved in early childhood education a long time. Way back in September of 1942, Marygrove opened its first nursery school. Here’s what the college paper had to say about this 76 years ago this month: “The Nursery School opened on schedule on September 28, with an enrollment of 20. Faculty and students have been instructed that the little ones are here for an education, not to be spoiled, so we are very earnestly resisting temptation.”
Today, Marygrove College operates solely as a graduate college. All the while this campus is being repurposed for the community, Marygrove will continue on its celebrated and historic path of educating the educators in skills and in social justice principles.
We stand ready to contribute to the success of this undertaking with the goal of quality education for all children and young adults in our neighborhood and our city.
Our commitment to the community also continues. In a few days, Marygrove kicks off the Fall semester of the Institute of Music and Dance with art, music and dance for children and adults of the community. Over 200 children and adults were enrolled in IMD classes the last two semesters. Many of you might even have learned an instrument, learned to draw, act or dance through IMD, which was formed in 1914 by the Center for Creative Studies and came to Marygrove in 2000.
And please mark your calendar for next April 26th when Marygrove holds our 31st installment of the annual Contemporary American Authors Lecture on this campus. Noted author Elizabeth Acevedo, daughter of Afro-Dominican immigrants, the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner for fiction, and New York Times best-selling author of the award-winning novel, THE POET X, will be here. Since 1988, Marygrove has been bringing African American authors to Detroit, free of charge to the community, thanks to generous supporters.
On behalf of the Marygrove Board, I’m truly excited to see the partners that are here today and convinced that the development we’ve been hearing about this morning for this special corner in northwest Detroit will be a major boost to the rebirth of the city of Detroit.
It is fascinating and wonderful to see such attention and investment in northwest Detroit in recent years. Someone who is particularly responsible for this is Mayor Mike Duggan, who I am pleased to introduce to you this afternoon. Mr. Mayor …
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