Anita Zucker, an alumna from the UF College of Education, recently donated $5 million to endow the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies for the purpose of enhancing its programs focused on optimizing early childhood development and learning. Moving forward, the renamed Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies will continue collaborations with the Institute for Child Health Policy, along with other campus partners, to further position UF as a national and world leader in understanding how young children develop and learn in the context of their families and communities.
“To optimize early childhood development and learning, interdisciplinary approaches in science, policy, and practice are needed,” said Patricia Snyder, Ph.D., director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, professor in the school of special education, school psychology and early childhood studies and affiliate faculty member in pediatrics and the Institute for Child Health Policy. “Interdisciplinary research is crucial if we are to discover new or better methods and interventions aimed at helping children get the best possible start in life.”
The Zucker donation, which is the largest by a single individual in the College of Education’s history, supports an interdisciplinary team of researchers working to establish innovative research, policies, and practices in early-childhood development and learning.
“This donation provides the College of Education an amazing opportunity to bring together researchers from across campus to focus on early-childhood development and learning and is emblematic of a growing focus at the University of Florida on these crucial early years,” said Kelli Komro, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. “It is also my hope that these collaborative efforts forge lasting research connections between faculty members interested in health and education, since both have a shared commitment to this vulnerable population.”
More information on Zucker’s donation and the College of Education’s future plans is available here, or read an article from The Independent Florida Alligator about the donation here.