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News Release

October 26, 2012

Gift to Ohio University’s Child Development Center encourages community growth 

The Child Development Center in Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education recently received a $145,000 gift from alumna Elizabeth Farmer. The gift is being used to establish the Elizabeth Farmer, Lynda Jones, Kimberly Parish Farmer Family Endowment for the Child Development Center (CDC). 

The Child Development Center, established in 1972, is a learning lab for OHIO students who are interested in early childhood education.  

"Gifts like this help us forge ahead with creative programming and collaborations and partnerships that bridge gaps, solve problems and create productive citizens,” said Dean of the Patton College Renee Middleton. “Our students, faculty and alumni have a track record of working hand-in-hand with communities to turn around schools, service agencies and community organizations; they change lives in positive ways." 

The endowment is consistent with the mission, purpose and functions of the CDC. Thanks to the gift, the CDC will be able to support programs, activities and training as well as access research and resources crucial to enhancing parental skills, involvement, and the nurturing and holistic development of the children they serve. 

Elizabeth "Betty" Farmer has close ties to the OHIO community. She is an alumna of the University and earned her degree in home economics in 1942. She even met her future husband, business major Leonard Farmer, at the Univesity. Farmer was involved in philanthropy even as a student, and worked with Alpha Gamma Delta during her time at OHIO. 

"It’s my alma mater," explained Farmer. "It was such an important part of my life." 

The gift is a lump sum donation that Farmer hopes will be put to good use to better influence the lives of children in Athens. She said the gift also will benefit the parents of these children. The interaction between the children and parents presents positive opportunities for the future generation of Bobcats. 

Cathy Waller, director of the CDC, reiterated that the parent-student relationship is important to the institution and "in the life of a school." Working with donors such as Farmer helps the CDC create "effective strategies to work with parents and build a strong classroom and community," which is "crucial" to the CDC’s success. 

One of the programs Waller and the CDC community hope to provide is an increased focus on teaching the children healthy eating habits. One of the avenues for this is the CDC's garden. The garden is a year round experience with most of the work occurring in the spring and fall. Families are encouraged to be part of the garden experience by volunteering to help with Garden Work Day or the yearly Garden Party, donate materials for the garden and help with the garden's maintenance. 

"Children are having hands on experiences with growing food from seeds or plants, (so) they are choosing to eat foods that perhaps parents would not think to offer, such as radishes, zucchini and different types of lettuces and herbs," Waller explained. 

The gift counts as part of The Promise Lives Campaign for Ohio University, which has raised $409 million toward its goal of securing $450 million by 2015 in support of students, faculty, programs, facilities and community partnerships. 

For more information about The Promise Lives Campaign, visit

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