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Harju Center for Equity in Education

Thanks to a gift of $4.3 million from the estate of alumna Dorothea Harju, the Harju Center for Equity in Education at UW-Stevens Point has been established in the School of Education, focused on addressing educational inequities in Wisconsin. By supporting diverse and first-generation elementary education teachers, the Harju Center will help level the education playing field for Wisconsin children.

The Harju Center for Equity in Education will support rural education and prepare elementary education teachers. This includes 20 scholarships, which will first be available for students enrolling for fall 2020, and those at branch campuses in Wausau and Marshfield who major in elementary education at the main UW-Stevens Point campus.

The Harju Center will help supply more teachers to rural school districts and prepare them for the special needs of those areas. It will also help UW-Stevens Point serve underrepresented minority students in metropolitan areas.

Our Story

Thanks to a gift of $4.3 million from the estate of alumna Dorothea Harju, the Harju Center for Equity in Education at UW-Stevens Point has been established in the School of Education, focused on addressing educational inequities in Wisconsin. By supporting diverse and first-generation elementary education teachers, the Harju Center will help level the education playing field for Wisconsin children.

Harju Center

By the Numbers

20
Scholarships/Year
US Dollars4.3 Million
Gift

Vision Statement

Dorthea Harju taught in a rural, elementary school district and had a passion for all learners and new educators. In the spirit of Dorthea and the legacy she left in the field of education, this endowment will support the preparation and sustainable development of all educators in the state of Wisconsin.  

The vision of the Harju Center for Equity in Education is to empower current and future elementary educators to recognize and address persistent challenges, close achievement gaps, and overcome barriers to providing equitable, inclusive, and responsive instruction to students. Our goal is to have positive impacts on Wisconsin schools and learners through supportive collaboration, innovation, and professional development.   

Educators Rising

Educators Rising Club Grant

​At the UW-Stevens Point Harju Center for Equity in Education, we believe in empowering and inspiring young learners to become teachers. We are offering school districts in Wisconsin a $500 grant to start an Educators Rising club in their own school, and we are pleased to announce that the application for this grant is now available. To apply for a $500 grant for your school/district, please complete the steps below.

Step 1

Complete this form with the Wisconsin Education Association Council to register your school’s Educators Rising chapter. There is no cost to schools for a state membership at this time.
*Note: This step must be completed before applying for a grant.

Step 2

Once you receive confirmation of your chapter’s registration, download a copy of your confirmation and complete this application form to apply for your grant.

Important Information about the Grant

  • Grant money must only be spent on expenses related to starting a new Educators Rising club.
  • Schools are only eligible for one grant per school.
  • The $500 will be disbursed in $250 increments, one during the first year and the other during the second year, given that appropriate reporting takes place.
  • Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If your application is approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to track and report your expenses. Please email us with any questions.

Contact Us

Perry Cook

Perry Cook

  • Professor – Science Education
  • Director – Harju Center for Equity in Education
  • Director – Elementary Methods Block Program
715-346-3263

About Dorothea Harju

Dorothea W. Harju (nee Berndt), age 98 of Oshkosh, formerly of rural Redgranite and Wisconsin Rapids passed away July 1, 2017 at Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh, where she had been residing.

Dorothea was born July 15, 1918, in Ripon, the daughter of Dr. William and Ida Marie (Hanke) Berndt. Both her parents preceded her in death at an early age.

Dorothea attended the public schools in Fond du Lac, and graduated from Goodrich Senior High School.

By profession she was an educator. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Master of Science Degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she was employed as a teacher in various schools in Wisconsin. She also held a Reading Specialist License from the State of Wisconsin. She retired after 31 years in education, a majority at the Port Edwards School District. A Service Award Certificate was received in recognition of her dedication.

Her hobbies included reading, golf and travel. She visited many states, and went to many countries on four continents. She visited the islands of Hawaii and New Zealand. The history and culture of each place was fascinating.

In 1943 Dorothea went to live in Washington, D.C. to work for the FBI in the Records Department. There, she also did some “sight-seeing” of many historic places in the area. New York City was visited many times. During World War II this was an exciting time and place to go. After the war, Onni R. Harju returned from Europe, where he was serving in the U.S. Army. They were united in marriage and lived in the Fox River Valley and Milwaukee before moving to Wisconsin Rapids. In the early 1960s they enrolled in the flight program at Alexander Field and learned to fly small aircraft. They both held pilot licenses.

The Harjus lived and worked in Wisconsin Rapids for 25 years. When they retired, they moved to their home in the Town of Warren, Waushara County, near Redgranite. They joined Mascoutin Golf Club of Berlin, and Dorothea joined the Ladies Auxiliary. She served as secretary, treasurer and president during her years of membership. She also joined the Friends in Council Book Club in Berlin, and gave many book reviews. In 2005 she sold the Redgranite property and moved to Oshkosh.