For Immediate Release
November 19, 2012
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Brockport, NY –The College at Brockport, State University of New York, announced that Willard W. and Judith P. Hunter have made a gift commitment of $500,000 in support of the College’s Hunter Institute on Young Children.
The Hunter Institute fosters collaboration within the early childhood professional community in an effort to forge partnerships for future work. Each year, the Institute, which they founded in 2007, hosts a conference to address the critical issues facing preschool and elementary school teachers. This year’s conference drew 300 participants— its largest audience to date.
“The Hunters are long time friends of the College and this momentous gift is just the latest example of their generosity toward the College,” said Brockport President John R. Halstead, PhD. “Judy and Wil’s passion for early childhood education is exemplary and we’re honored that they have chosen Brockport as their vehicle to help improve the way our children learn.”
Wil Hunter is the retired CEO of Optem, a Rochester-based custom optical instrument design and manufacturing company that he co-founded in 1984 following a 19-year career at Bausch and Lomb, Inc. He served on The Brockport Foundation Board for 18 years, and previously funded the restoration of the piano in the College’s Department of Theater as well as donating an OptiGrid confocal optical device to Brockport’s science departments to be used in research microscopy. Judy Hunter was a teacher for 20 years at the Ogden Community Christian Pre-School and saw firsthand the challenges facing young children and the people who work to education them.
“We want to give teachers concrete things they can take back to the classrooms and use,” she said. “The whole idea of [the Institute] is to reach as many children as possible.”
In the long-term, the Hunters would like to make the conference available to a national audience through the use of live streaming and video capture technologies. Childcare professionals who attend the conference are eligible to earn continuing education credits. The Institute is also considering expanding by hosting annual “think tank” sessions for early childhood research professionals. More information about the Hunter Institute on Young Children can be found at www.brockport.edu/hunter/.
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu