Donor Profile Linda Mei He | Teachers College Columbia University

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Donor Profiles

Linda Mei He | Alice Hsia | Nobuhiro Takahashi | George Papayannis | Khaitsa Wasiyo | Lila Swell

Linda Mei He
Creating a U.S.-Chinese
“Cultural Bilingualism”

Barriers of culture are the biggest obstacles to mutual understanding and trust between people of different races and backgrounds,” says Linda Mei He, Chair-woman and President of China’s Wailian Overseas Consulting Group.


To address these issues, Ms. He is generously funding two new initiatives at Teachers College: a Center for Inter­national Foreign Language Teacher Education (CIFLTE), to be led by ZhaoHong Han, Professor of Language & Education; and a summer camp to facilitate social and emotional learning for Chinese middle and high school students in U.S. schools, to be led by Lena Verdeli, Associate Professor of Psychology & Education and Director of TC’s Global Mental Health Lab.

“Mastering a foreign language can broaden one’s horizon to a brand new culture,” says Ms. He, who has served on the boards of Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and brought many Chinese artists to the United States. “A TC study has shown that a child can master five languages by the age of four. I really hope one of those languages will be Chinese, because China is a brilliant culture, and learning Chinese is the starting point for understanding it.” The summer camp will extend this work, Ms. He adds, by creating a “cultural bilingualism” that enables Chinese adolescent students in the United States to strengthen and enrich their coping, communication and emotional regulation skills.

Ms. He, who has served as a Professional Fellow at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute, says she chose to work with TC because the College and China “have deep roots” that date back to the early 20th century, when iconic Chinese educators such as Tao Xingzhi and Cai Yuanpei studied here. “Teachers College has made a major impact on modern education in China. With this contribution, I hope to strengthen the bond between our two countries.”

Alice Hsia (M.A. ’99)
Volunteer and part-time teacher who has helped organize regional Teachers College alumni events in Taiwan         



Lin Goodwin changed my life. Celia Genishi showed kindness and sensitivity for learners of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Judith Burton celebrated young people’s authentic aesthetic arts with different materials and realities. Nancy Lesko guided her master’s project students with patience and insightful questions.


TC is about working together. All the courses I took required me to collaborate with other classmates or professors. I appreciated the perspectives that professors and classmates brought forth during our classroom discussions and the opportunities to step outside of my own comfort zone.


I was very fortunate to have received financial aid for my TC education. I hope to pay it forward.


Nobuhiro Takahashi (M.A. ’11)
TESOL graduate, TC’s  former Japan campus teacher of English at Junior & Senior High School affiliated with Tokyo City University; Counselor, Japan Association for the Study of Teaching English



Maria Torres-Guzman taught me bilingualism and bilingual education from an international perspective.I have never read such a variety of articles in such a short time.


All the TC Japan students worked as teachers on weekdays and studied on weekends. I regard my TC friends as treasures in my life and “fellow soldiers.” We survived together through hard work and cooperation.


I want to return the favor to all the TC people who gave me such an unforgettable experience. By giving annually, I can remain part of the TC community.


George Papayannis (M.A. ’03)
Science and Engineering Teacher, Boston Arts Academy; Conant Fellow in Harvard Graduate School of Education’s School Leadership Program



In Angela Calabrese Barton’s course, everything was discussion. Now, when I run a class or a workshop, I check that participants are learning from each other. Keith Sheppard inspired me to track down century-old science and science education books, which are richer and more complex.


Working as an engineer, I bought Dewey on Education and loved it. Some years later when I saw the John Dewey quote over the TC information desk, I knew I was home.


At TC, I learned to challenge everything. We don’t need to do something a particular way just because we’ve been doing it that way for 100 years.


Khaitsa Wasiyo (ED.D. ’09)
International expert in adult learning, instructional technology/media and leadership; UN consultant and Professor of Project Management and Technology at Manhattan College and Walden University



Victoria Marsick and Lyle Yorks were engagingly challenging and generous with their time. I am eternally grateful.


I became passionate about the use of technology in higher education and in the corporate world. In addition to teaching, I am now doing what I love — creating and managing educational technology projects.


My TC experience has en-abled the international career I wanted, from teaching in the U.S. and Japan, to creating a digital timeline tool on gender equality for the U.N., to being a Trustee at a leading African university. I want the next generation to build similar relationships and collaborations.


Lila Swell (ED.D. ’64)
Professor of Humanistic Psychology, Queens College; creator of the “Educating for Success Program” and best-selling author of Success: You Can Make it Happen



Ernest “Lank” Osborne. I learned to teach as his TA, and I still use those methods.


TC’s teaching and method-ology was very progressive. When I started teaching, everyone said I was ahead of my time.


TC gave me so much that I wanted to give other students the same oppor-tunities. I developed a program to help people strengthen their identity, to learn where they should be going in life. Later I adapted it for public school children. I wake up every morning and say I’m blessed. I love my students and I love teaching, and I have no intention of retiring.

Published Friday, Feb 26, 2016

Linda Mei He
Linda Mei He
Alice Hsia
Alice Hsia (M.A. '99)
Nobuhiro Takahashi
Nobuhiro Takahashi (M.A. '11)
George Payayannis
George Payayannis (M.A. '03)
Khaitsa Wasiyo
Khaitsa Wasiyo (Ed.D. '09)
Lila Swell
Lila Swell (Ed.D. '64)

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