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McRae, Johnson Scholarships Will Benefit Future Educators
For release: Oct. 10, 2006
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Future generations of educators will be supported by two new scholarships established in the College of Education at the University of Memphis – the Louise and Robert M. McRae Jr. Professorship in Clinical Practice and the Lela Almarita Johnson Scholarship.  Announced this morning at the University, the two gifts total just over $2 million; the gift from the McRae estate is $750,000 and the Johnson estate bequest is $1.3 million.

The McRae Professorship will be awarded to a teacher, leader, ambassador, and visionary to help ensure that best practices in the K-12 environment are reflected in teacher preparation programs and that higher education has a positive impact on K-12 practices. The McRae Professor will also direct the Office of School-Based Clinical Practice in the U of M’s College of Education.

Funds from the Johnson Scholarship will provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education. The Lela Johnson Scholars will be expected to participate in leadership development workshops and activities in addition to their respective College of Education programs.

Robert McRae was chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District Tennessee from 1979 to 1986. He played a key role in many important cases, including hiring discrimination cases involving the Memphis Fire Department. He may be best remembered for the role he played in integrating the Memphis City Schools in 1972 and for being the first judge to hire black and female law clerks.

Johnson earned a B.S. degree in education from the U of M in 1956 and a master’s degree in 1960. She taught in the  Memphis City Schools for more than 30 years. After traveling extensively, she saw the world as a canvas and spent her later years creating oil paintings from her memories and life experiences.

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