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Salem State University has received $10 million from the Cummings Foundation, the largest cash gift ever made to one of Massachusetts’ nine state universities. The contribution was made to the university’s McKeown School of Education to support programs and initiatives aimed at diversifying, strengthening, and sustaining the next generation of educators.

“This generous contribution is an investment in our students, our campus goals and the entire region, and I am exceptionally grateful to Cummings Foundation,” said university president John D. Keenan.

The gift will allow the school of education to build on existing efforts to diversify the educator pipeline for all teacher license areas, such as the cohort-based Educator-Scholars of Color initiative. It will also be used to create a center for professional learning aimed at retaining teachers and school leaders, including support for developing anti-racist and equity-focused instructional and leadership practices. The funds will also help prepare educators to meet student needs such as early childhood literacy and support pathways to licensure for hundreds of emergency-licensed teachers in the region.

Salem State education graduates frequently go on to teach in cities with increasingly diverse student populations, including nearby Lynn, Salem, Revere, and Peabody, among others throughout the state. The new contribution will help the university build an infrastructure that is even more responsive to the long-term and emerging workforce needs of these and other area school districts. 

“The impact of this historic gift will be significant and far-reaching, paying lasting dividends to the school districts in which our students go on to serve,” said Dr. Joseph Cambone, dean of the School of Education.

Based in Woburn, the Cummings Foundation was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings as a way of giving back to the communities where they built their thriving commercial real estate business. Today, nearly all Cummings commercial properties are owned by and operated for the sole benefit of Cummings Foundation. To date, the foundation has awarded nearly $400 million in grants.