Princeton Weekly Bulletin, March 2, 1998

McGraw gift endows teaching, learning center

Publisher Harold McGraw Jr., Class of 1940, has made a $5 million gift to endow a center for promoting innovative teaching and effective learning throughout the University.

McGraw Center is to serve as a laboratory for new ideas and a place to share, across departments and disciplines, teaching discoveries that have proven successful in individual classrooms at Princeton and other colleges and universities. McGraw Center will be housed in the new campus center, designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, now under construction.

"Harold McGraw has had a long devotion to literacy and education, and with this generous gift to Princeton he is helping us redefine teaching and learning for future generations," said President Shapiro.

High technology, human ideas

"Better teaching means better learning, and that can involve some very sophisticated technology as well as some very simple ideas," said McGraw, who retired from McGraw-Hill as chair in 1988. "In this new center, I hope we can combine high-tech hardware along with human experience and creativity to bring Princeton to an even higher level of achievement."

McGraw Center activities will focus on bringing advances in teaching and curricular improvements to Princeton's classrooms, providing a venue for sharing teaching strategies, exploring novel uses of technology for teaching and learning, strengthening graduate students' teaching skills, and enhancing undergraduate learning. By bringing together members of the campus community for discussion groups, seminars and lectures by educators from across the country, the center will serve as a forum in which to examine and refine the art of teaching. Princeton will soon begin a search for the director of the center, an educator with a record both of successful teaching and of effective collaboration.

Among the specialized facilities to be included in McGraw Center are a state-of-the-art electronic classroom, a multimedia resource lab where faculty and graduate students can experiment with new teaching methods and develop new teaching materials, a library of print and electronic teaching resources, a seminar room, and several small consultation areas. The center also will act as an informal meeting place to encourage discussion and interaction among faculty, graduate students, undergraduates and the center's professional staff. Nearby classrooms in the campus center will be equipped with videotaping capabilities; videotapes of classes will help staff assist instructors in strengthening their teaching methods and provide a resource for research on teaching and learning strategies.

Highest literacy award

McGraw, who is currently chair emeritus of McGraw-Hill, has spent 51 years at the company, serving as president and chief executive officer. A long-time supporter of Princeton programs of education and scholarship, he established an endowed chair for writing courses, among other gifts. He also endowed the editing of Albert Einstein's papers by Princeton University Press when he served as its president.

Active in civic and philanthropic endeavors, especially efforts to increase literacy, McGraw founded the Business Council for Effective Literacy and the Business Press Education Foundation. He has served as chair of the Council for Aid to Education and vice chair of the New York Public Library, where he is a lifetime trustee. Recipient of many honors, he was given the nation's highest literacy award by President George Bush in 1990. He also has been awarded seven honorary degrees, including one in 1983 from Princeton. In 1988 McGraw-Hill established the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, awarded annually to outstanding American educators.

The McGraw gift is an important contribution to the Anniversary Campaign for Princeton, which has now raised $555 million toward a goal of $750 million by the year 2000.