The funding is intended to recruit and train teachers who are likley to remain in Northeast Florida after graduation.
The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services received a $1.35 million gift from the Lastinger Family Foundation Inc. to provide scholarship funds to students pursuing teaching careers.
The Lastinger Endowed Scholarship will allow the college to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse pipeline of skilled teacher candidates who are likely to remain in Northeast Florida and serve as leaders in education, according to a news release from the university.
“This need-based endowed scholarship will make such an impact and difference for our students striving to become teachers,” said Diane Yendol-Hoppey, dean of the college.
“The Lastinger Family has a special place in their heart for educators and their gift demonstrates a commitment to future teachers who will be difference-makers in the lives of thousands of children. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.”
The Lastinger Family Foundation, founded by Allen and Delores Lastinger, awards grants to organizations that make a difference in children’s lives by addressing needs related to education or well-being.
Allen Lastinger is a former president and chief operating officer at Barnett Bank, where he worked for 27 years. He retired in 1998 and the couple moved to St. Augustine.
Delores Lastinger received a master’s in education administration and supervision from UNF. While teaching, she became passionate about the need to support educators and to improve professional development.
The release said 79% of College of Education graduates remain in Northeast Florida and 1,300 UNF graduates in Duval County Public Schools have 10 or more years of teaching experience.