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NIU's College of Education is Thousands Strong!

The NIU College of Education’s mission is to prepare the next generation of teachers, athletic trainers, college professors, counselors, technology specialists, exercise scientists, principals, researchers, school business managers, superintendents and more. Over the past 125 years, we have done just that. Last year, NIU graduates accounted for 1 of every 5 superintendents in Illinois, 1 of every 9 principals in Illinois and 1 out of every 16 teachers in Illinois.

Modern times are making our original purpose – preparing college-educated teachers – more critical than ever as the nation faces a critical shortage of teachers.

We strive to give students in every College of Education program the best experience and preparation possible. You can make a difference. We encourage you to help by donating to one of the following areas, all of which align with our commitment to high-quality teaching, rigorous research and engaged service, as we prepare students to lead in their chosen profession



Did you know that nearly 84% of our full-time students need some sort of financial aid, but only a quarter are currently receiving scholarship support? Can you imagine being one flat tire away from dropping out of school? These are the true challenges of obstacles of matching ambitions with realities. Our Project Graduate program helps juniors and seniors, who often must give up jobs or drastically reduce hours to participate in student-teaching and internships, to cross that finish line and graduate. Your gift could also assist students in buying textbooks, paying for exam fees or assisting with child care expenses.



By supporting the College of Education’s strategic priorities, you help fund important and innovative new and current initiatives that keep us as a top college choice. 

  • PLEDGE: Our new “Partnering to Lead and Empower District-Grown Educators” (PLEDGE) program confronts the national and Illinois teacher shortage, using innovative strategies and impactful programs to attract new teachers who know their communities, understand the culture and want to stay.

  • Program Enhancement and Innovative Practice: We continually examine, update and enhance our curriculum, ensuring it is current, cutting-edge and relevant in preparing our students for the careers of tomorrow.

  • Student Engagement: We cultivate a welcoming, inclusive and supportive space for students to learn in the classroom and in the field, whether it’s throughout the region, across the country or around the world. With that sense of belonging, advocacy and opportunity, our students are empowered to broaden their horizons, practice their craft and prepare to succeed and lead.

  • Facilities: We are steadfast in transforming and revitalizing our buildings and spaces to include flexible learning areas for modern and future uses.

  • Faculty: Investing in our faculty members, who include five NIU Presidential Professors, three endowed professors and six Fulbright scholars, enable them to travel for research, professional development and service to their fields. They are active teachers and researchers who regularly launch and develop new programs (some funded by the college’s internal grant opportunities) to advance their scholarship, their service and, most importantly, their work with our students who collaborate with them on research. 


NIU College Leaderboard: Gifts
See how your college is doing in overall gifts.
Rank College Gifts
1 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 334
2 College of Law 212
3 College of Business 156
4 College of Education 155
5 College of Health & Human Sciences 131
NIU College Leaderboard: Dollars
See how your college is doing in overall dollars raised.
Rank College Raised
1 College of Business $538,055.98
2 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences $152,300.03
3 College of Law $73,328.00
4 College of Education $40,907.00
5 College of Health & Human Sciences $33,610.25
Thousands Strong Participation Challenge
A generous and long-time NIU donor wants to encourage the Huskie family to come together during Thousands Strong. When 2,000 total gifts are made during Thousands Strong, a $100,000 gift to support innovation and strategic initiatives will be unlocked into our totals.
2,000 / 2,000 Gifts
Jerry and Annette Johns Project Graduate Match
College of Education Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, Dr. Jerry L. Johns, and College of Education alumna Annette L. Johns, M.S.Ed. ’77, want to inspire giving toward the College of Education’s Project Graduate. They will personally match all donations to Project Graduate, dollar-for-dollar, during Thousands Strong.
$4,935 MATCHED
Alberta Solfisburg Challenge
NIU Retiree and College of Education friend Alberta Solfisburg wants to start the Day of Giving off right. When COE receives its first 5 gifts from our donors, she will gift $500 to Project Graduate.
5 / 5 Gifts
Dennis and Pat Gurney Challenge
Double College of Education alumni Dennis Gurney, M.S. Ed, '69 and Pat Gurney, B.S.Ed. ’68, M.S.Ed. ’74, want to inspire giving toward the College of Education. When COE receives 25 total gifts, they will gift $2,000 to Project Graduate.
25 / 25 Gifts
College of Education Dean's Challenge
The Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Laurie Elish-Piper, wants to inspire giving toward the College of Education. When COE receives 50 total gifts, she will increase the impact by gifting $2,500 to College Strategic Priorities Fund.
50 / 50 Gifts
Sunshine Charitable Foundation/Denise Bunning Challenge
College of Education alumna Denise A. Bunning, M.S. Ed, '89 wants to inspire more people to make a positive impact on the lives of COE students. When 100 total gifts are received, her family foundation, Sunshine Charitable Foundation, will gift $10,000 into our Strategic Priorities Fund.
100 / 100 Gifts
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