GAINESVILLE, Fla. - It should come as no surprise that James Patterson, one of America's current best-selling authors, has a passion for books and reading, and he supports those who feel the same way.
Patterson believes one way to champion books and reading for children is by supporting our future teachers, which explains why his Patterson Family Foundation has donated $48,000 for scholarships benefiting eight elementary education students at the University of Florida.
"I was especially impressed by the teaching program at UF's College of Education," said Patterson, who lives in Palm Beach. "As a Floridian myself, I know UF is committed to quality in education, and I want to help these students who are eager to become great teachers."
Patterson has sold more than 275 million copies of his books worldwide and has received and been nominated for numerous awards. He also holds the Guinness world record for most hardcover fiction best-selling titles by a single author.
His foundation's gift to the college will award eight incoming elementary education students with a $6,000 scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year. The scholarship recipients will be obligated to submit a written essay by the end of the academic year in which they describe how they plan to apply what they have learned in their teacher education program within their future classrooms.
"Great teachers are at the core of our democracy," said Elizabeth Bondy, the director of the college's School of Teaching and Learning. "This gift will enable dedicated college freshmen to become practitioner scholars who will educate our youth and lead ongoing efforts to strengthen schools and society."
The Patterson Family Foundation has provided scholarships to undergraduate and graduate education students at more than 15 colleges across the United States. The author and his wife also support scholarships at their alma maters: Manhattan College, Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin.
Patterson, author of best-selling suspense-thriller series like Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett, is also the current best-selling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.