National University Hosts Grand Opening of Sanford Education Center

National University hosted the grand opening of the Sanford Education Center on Thursday, September 18, unveiling of the Center’s state-of-the-art facilities at National University’s La Jolla. headquarters. The Center includes a lecture hall space, capacity for 150-plus people and integrated video technology.

Amid a gathering of civic leaders and reporters, the Center's leaders announced the first steps toward a national roll-out of research-based initiatives aimed at empowering nonprofit leaders, educators and others serving the public good.

The Sanford Center is made possible through the generous support of philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford, who donated an inaugural gift earlier in the year. For more information, click here.

“This is a momentous occasion for National University, for the City of San Diego, and for communities around the country as we oversee the national expansion of the Sanford Education Center’s initiatives that address needs in the education and nonprofit sector through research-based practices and innovative approaches,” said National University President Michael R. Cunningham. “We are honored to be the home of the Sanford Education Center and for the support of Mr. Denny Sanford, and we look forward to many more successes to come as we carry out the Center’s mission.”

Mr. Sanford and President Cunningham were present at the grand opening event to discuss their shared vision and the collaboration that lead to the founding of the Sanford Center. They both addressed the media and fielded questions from reporters.

National University will lead in introducing the Center’s three founding curricula (the Sanford Harmony Program, the Sanford Inspire Program and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy) from coast-to-coast.

At grand opening ceremonies, President Cunningham announced that National is collaborating with Long Island University (LIU) to expand the Sanford Harmony Program to the East Coast. The Harmony Program, based on the work of researchers at Arizona State University, encourages positive relationships between girls and boys at the Pre-K through 6th grade, with the goal of improving gender relationships into adulthood.

The signed Memorandum of Understanding between National University and LIU outlines collaborative efforts between the two schools to work with program specialists, called Ambassadors, to introduce the Sanford Harmony Programs to schools in the Northeast region.

Elements of the Sanford Inspire Program helps teachers create inspiring learning experiences aimed at increasing student learning at the K- 12th grade level. Elements of this program have been incorporated into National University’s own teacher programs, and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is expected to launch a Master of Arts Degree in Cause Leadership in Spring 2015. The Inspire program was founded at Arizona State University, and integrates Teach for America principles into its curriculum.

The third Center initiative, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, provides training in nonprofit leadership with an emphasis on fundraising techniques, cause selling and relationship building, through programs being developed by National University’s School of Business and Management. Joining the Institute recently is Executive-in-Residence  Bob Kelly, a philanthropic organizational leader who served for 20 years as President of the San Diego Foundation.

All three Sanford Center initiatives are overseen at National University by Sanford Education Center Executive Director Dr. Allyson Handley, a former university president who earned her doctorate degree from one of the top education schools in the country, Johns Hopkins University.

“I am extremely pleased with the work being done by National University to ensure the Sanford Education Center’s mission of A Better Tomorrow has a positive impact in communities across the country,” said Philanthropist and Sanford Education Center Founder Denny Sanford. “These programs support the great work being done by the education and nonprofit sectors, providing opportunities to touch even more children’s lives and creating a legacy for future generations.”