Leading by Example: Investing in the Future of Education
Martha Symonds’s enduring connection to Northwestern’s School of Education (now the School of Education and Social Policy, or SESP) began in 1940 when her mother, a 1920s graduate of Northwestern, returned to get her master’s degree in education and teaching credential.
After Martha ’57 MS graduated from Stanford 15 years later with a bachelor’s degree in political science, she took her mother’s advice and decided to pursue her master’s degree and teaching credential at SESP, which she completed in 1957. She continued to follow in her mother’s footsteps by dedicating the next nine years of her career to teaching in Evanston and Wilmette schools. During that time, Martha had the opportunity to work with and mentor Northwestern student teachers who completed their practice teaching in her classroom.
When Martha attended Northwestern, SESP was a traditional school of education focused primarily on school-based learning and teacher training. Today, it has transformed into a school with an expanded mission, innovative programs, and far-reaching impact, preparing its students to contribute in the classroom, at not-for-profits, in government, and even in business. Its teacher education program remains one of the best in the nation. Through a broadened curriculum, SESP helps students consider all of the important factors and stakeholders that will impact their professional practice. This innovative approach to teacher training and commitment to preparing leaders in education resonated with Martha, who found her true niche as a problem solver in the leadership positions she held later in her career as Curriculum Director and District Superintendent.
In gratitude for the transformative nature of both her mother’s education and her own, Martha elected to designate SESP as a beneficiary of her retirement plan at the time she planned her estate in order to invest in a quality education for future educators.
“Many Northwestern alumni are regular people like me who have worked hard throughout their lives. You don’t have to be enormously wealthy to give to the University—by naming Northwestern the beneficiary of a retirement account, you can make a significant gift,” Martha says. Northwestern alumni and friends who wish to make a gift to Northwestern of all or a percentage of a retirement account can easily accomplish this by naming the University on the beneficiary designation form provided by the plan administrator. If, like Martha, you would like to direct your support to your favorite school or program at Northwestern, please contact Northwestern Gift Planning at 800-826-6709 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I would strongly encourage others to consider supporting Northwestern in this way,” says Martha. “I know that my gift to Northwestern will make a difference.”
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Northwestern does not offer charitable gift annuities in all states, so please contact us to determine eligibility.