This past Saturday saw the 10th anniversary HAPPY Hour Student Showcase take place at the Education Complex, UCF Teaching Academy, and Morgridge International Reading Center on the UCF campus. The HAPPY Hour Student Showcase is an annual event that brings students in the College of Education and Human Performance together to interact in a conference-like setting, presenting their best work on education projects and interacting with practicing educators in all fields for professional development.

For the 10th anniversary event, Dr. Karen Verkler and interim Dean Grant Hayes hosted Carrie Morgridge, Vice President of the Morgridge Family Foundation, who gave a special address to the teacher candidates, staff, and faculty in attendance. Ms. Morgridge explained the Foundation’s commitment to education, telling the students in attendance that they we entering “the most honorable field in the country.”

“The Morgridge Family Foundation holds teachers in the highest regard,” Ms. Morgridge stated. “You are going to be the change agents for our future kids. You are our future; you are making a difference each and every day.”

She also urged the room full of teacher candidates to “look to each other, lean on each other. Look here, to the people here” for the support, advice, and guidance that will be needed in a changing education landscape.

“The Morgridge Family Foundation has been one of the partner organizations at the forefront of advancing the field, especially here at the College of Education and Human Performance,” interim Dean Grant Hayes said. “Ms. Morgridge has for many years shown her passion for and commitment to the improvement of education, and that enthusiasm and hope for the future were evident in her presentation to our HAPPY Hour Student Showcase attendees. It is a wonderful gift to have an ally that believes in and works towards the advancement of education in partnership with our faculty, staff, and students.”

Ms. Morgridge’s philanthropic efforts focus on all fields of education, including science, arts, mathematics, and more, including gifts to several colleges of education (UCF being among them). Her experiences with the Morgridge Family Foundation led her to recently publish a book, “Every Gift Matters,” which relates stories about the power of charitable giving, from the smallest contributions to larger foundation efforts. The book also touches on how strategy and networking can make even small donations exceptionally effective. In recognition of her many projects focused on developing future generations of teachers, the College of Education and Human Performance presented Ms. Morgridge with the inaugural Luminary Leadership Award, which is conferred annually to individuals and organizations that inspire and influence the transformation of education.