GW raises $225,000 at benefit dinner honoring departing GSEHD dean

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The University raised about $225,000 for the newly created Mary Futrell Scholarship during at a farewell benefit dinner hosted in Futrell’s honor Thursday night at The Ritz-Carlton.

Students, faculty, administrators and government officials gathered to honor Mary Futrell as she prepares to step down as Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development after 15 years in the position. The scholarships will be given to low-income students seeking careers as classroom teachers.

“The GSEHD needs to carry on Dean Futrell’s goals and mission of being more involved with D.C. public schools and the city,” doctoral candidate Leslie Ward said.

Research professor Iris Rotberg said Futrell’s sense of justice was “central to her lifelong efforts to achieve the goal of equal education opportunity for children.”

The City Council of D.C. declared last Friday Mary Futrell Day in her honor.

During her time as dean, Futrell “pushed for partnerships” and research initiatives within D.C.’s school districts, Futrell said in an interview with The Hatchet. These partnerships will be a vital component of her successor’s work, she said.

“The new dean will need to understand how important it is to have partnerships with others,” Futrell said, adding that the new dean must also understand D.C.

Under Futrell, GSHED became nationally recognized and ranked starting in 1995 and brings in $12 to $15 million a year in external funding.

“The new dean is going to have to have a strong understanding of research because the University is going more towards becoming a research institution,” she said.

Futrell said the school is in a situation where “someone can take it and move forward.” Despite being one of two schools currently not in compliance with the Faculty Senate’s code in regards to tenure or tenured-track faculty, Futrell said she believes the school is on a path to success.

“Overall it is a positive situation,” she said. “But we do need a new building and more faculty as well.”

Former GSEHD Director of Alumni Relations John Rosser agreed that to grow the school needs a new building.

“The school really needs a place where they can house all of the components without having them scattered around campus,” he said. “I know Dean Futrell would have liked to accomplish that too.”

Rosser worked with Futrell for 13 years said she was “the best dean” he ever knew.

“She was the best boss and set goals that she always accomplished. I think the best thing she did was attract money from grants for faculty research,” Rosser said. “She was always able to manage the group.”

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