UWSP receives large gift from Port Edwards teacher; Gift will create Harju Center for Equity in Education
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT – A woman who devoted her career to helping children read has provided the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with the largest individual gift in its 125-year history. A gift of $4.3 million from the estate of Dorothea Harju, an alumna, has been made to the UWSP Foundation for the School of Education.
This generous gift will create the Harju Center for Equity in Education at UW-Stevens Point, focused on addressing educational inequities in Wisconsin. By supporting diverse and first-generation elementary education teachers, the center will help level the education playing field for Wisconsin children.
“Our impact helps shape the lives of thousands of children across Wisconsin. The Harju gift will allow our School of Education to make an even greater impact, reach more children, especially the underserved, and train more teachers,” Chancellor Bernie Patterson said while announcing the gift today.
The Harju Center for Equity in Education will support rural education and prepare elementary education teachers. This includes 20 scholarships, which will first be available for students enrolling for fall 2020, and those at branch campuses in Wausau and Marshfield who major in elementary education at the main UW-Stevens Point campus.
Dorothea Harju grew up in Redgranite and received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1943 and her master’s degree in 1966, both from UW-Stevens Point. She taught in various Wisconsin schools and served as a reading specialist in the Port Edwards School District for 25 years, retiring in 1977.
Before her marriage to Onni Harju, Dorothea Berndt worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C. The couple lived in Wisconsin Rapids, where Onni worked for Consolidated Papers, retiring as treasurer.
Dorothea died in 2017 at age 98.