UNC education school receives largest gift in its history

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 03:54 PM

In 1954, Donald Tarbet showed innovative tendencies when he developed educational courses for the newly established UNC-TV at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Now, 60 years later, a $3 million endowment in honor of the former faculty member will support innovation in the university’s School of Education – the largest gift in that school’s history, according to UNC officials.

“Donald was an innovator who saw an opportunity to use this new technology to extend Carolina’s offerings to more students,” said Bill McDiarmid, dean of the School of Education.

Tarbet was named director of the Summer School in 1969 when it mostly served teachers renewing their certificates. He worked to expand the program’s offerings to a wider range of students.

The gift came from the estate of Justeen Tarbet, his wife, who died in January 2013. He died in 1995 after they’d been married 54 years.

“We are thrilled by this expression of generosity and enduring love that Justeen and Donald had in our School of Education,” said Wendy Gratz Borman, assistant dean for external relations. “This gift will serve as a legacy honoring their devotion to our school.”

Tarbet, a Missouri native, grew up on a farm that was sold to generate most of the funds for the gift. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1938, became a teacher, and then served in World War II in Europe.

The Tarbets moved to Chapel Hill in 1952, when he was hired as an assistant professor at the university.

The bequest will establish the Donald G. Tarbet Endowment Fund for Faculty Support, providing stipends to facility development of innovative educational programs and support for junior faculty.

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