WSU Future Teachers of Color Program Funded in Perpetuity by Gift from Estate of James Taylor, Bellevue Music Teacher, Spokane Native, WSU Graduate

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s highly successful Future Teachers of Color program is now the university’s first endowed minority outreach effort.

FTOC — the WSU College of Education’s recruitment and retention program for multicultural undergraduate education students — was endowed from an $187,000 gift from the estate of Bellevue music teacher James Taylor, a 1963 WSU music education graduate, said Steve Nakata, WSU Office of Multicultural Student Services director. Taylor, a Spokane native who taught music in the Bellevue School District for 30 years, died in 1999 at age 59 of a heart attack.

With the endowment, the program is funded in perpetuity, providing it a constant source of funds. Beginning the 2001-2002 academic year, the bequest will provide FTOC with approximately $7,500 annually for scholarships or program support.

“With this gift, FTOC becomes the first endowed program related to diversity at WSU,” Nakata said. “This was a terrific way to recognize and support a program that has demonstrated significant success in recruiting students of color to WSU.”

Milton Lang, the director of student recruitment and retention at the College of Education, said Taylor’s gift provides long-term stability for the program to diversify Washington’s teaching force.

“Thanks to his bequest and the other support we have received, we will be able to maintain our commitment to the program and our commitment to the state’s multicultural communities,” said Lang, who established and coordinates the FTOC Program. “We appreciate this generous and thoughtful gift.”

In addition to Taylor’s bequest, the Kenneth and Marleen Alhadeff Charitable Foundation has supported FTOC the past seven years. In September, the Charlotte Y. Martin Foundation provided $30,000 to support recruitment and mentor activities.

Taylor’s reputation for helping students who might otherwise be overlooked was detailed in a 1999 story by Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large. It ran just months before Taylor’s death. Large wrote, “Even though he is white and has played an important role in the lives of many people of color, Taylor believes there is nothing quite like a role model a student can identify with easily.”

The commitment by Taylor, a 1958 graduate of Spokane’s Rogers High School, solidified in November 1998, when he learned about FTOC while watching a program on Seattle public television, KCTS. The next business day, he called WSU to offer a contribution to support FTOC. Later, after meeting with Lang and Judy Mitchell, WSU College of Education dean, he made the FTOC endowment gift part of his estate.