Emporia, Kansas; October 19, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carol Strickland, Executive Director
MEMORIAL TO FALLEN EDUCATORS TO BE EXPANDED
The Board of Trustees of The National Teachers Hall of Fame [NTHF] voted unanimously at Friday’s annual strategic planning meeting that the Memorial to Fallen Educators will be expanded to include educators who have “fallen in the line of duty” on the higher education level.
The original memorial site, dedicated in June of 2014, tells the stories of 115 educators who lost their lives in their PreK-12 schools in America, dating back to 1764. Two recent tragedies led to the discussion of expanding the reach of the memorial: Larry Levine’s murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on October 1st and Dr. Ethan Schmidt’s murder at Delta State University in Mississippi on September 14th. Dr. Schmidt’s death touched many at Emporia State University, home of the Hall of Fame and the Memorial to Fallen Educators, because Dr. Schmidt received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Emporia State before earning his doctorate at The University of Kansas.
Melinda Whetzel, Former Chair of the NTHF Board of Trustees, explains that the action will not change the mission or the vision of the NTHF: “We will always be The National Teachers Hall of Fame that honors five outstanding career classroom teachers each year with induction into the Hall of Fame. The Memorial is a separate way to reach out to all educators at all levels now. We included teachers, administrators and education support professionals on our original memorial, and we think it is fitting to also memorialize our fallen educators from higher education.”
The task of fundraising and researching the names to be etched on the 6’ by 6’ black granite memorial will be a challenge, according to Carol Strickland, Executive Director. “We want to make sure that all eligible names are included from public and private colleges, universities, and technical colleges. We have no idea how many names there are, just as when we started the search for names for the original memorial. We are depending on people from all over the nation to help us find these names. Additionally, we will be asking donors to help us fund the cost of the memorial book, engraving, and installation, which will be around $50,000.”
Research and fundraising efforts are now underway. For more information or to help, contact NTHF at 1-800-96-TEACH  or firstname.lastname@example.org.