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December 3, 2010


Gift is largest ever in Canada to the study of early child development and education

TORONTO, ON – The University of Toronto has announced that Dr. Eric Jackman has donated $5 million to the Institute of Child Study – a landmark gift in Canada for early development and childhood education.
In recognition of the gift, U of T has renamed the 85-year-old Institute of Child Study (ICS) the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, which is part of the University’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology. The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study is one of the few places in the world to integrate advanced research, renowned graduate teacher training and a demonstration model of practical elementary schooling at one place.
“Dr. Jackman’s gift demonstrates his firm belief in the Institute’s unique and integrated approach to the study of human development, family dynamics and childhood education,” said U of T President David Naylor.  “We are already a leader in this area. With Eric Jackman’s support, we can build on these strong foundations, continue to innovate, and develop best practices that will improve outcomes of early childhood education for children and families everywhere.”
OISE Dean Julia O’Sullivan says the gift will generate enormous benefits for the Institute: “Dr. Eric Jackman's extraordinary generosity will allow OISE to expand its reach and deepen its impact, making a difference in the lives of children, families and communities here at home and around the world.  On behalf of everyone at OISE, and of all those whose lives will be enriched through your gift, thank you Dr. Jackman.”
Founded in 1925-26, the Institute and its Lab School have exerted a profound influence on early education.  ICS research led directly to the adoption of the Ontario Day Nurseries Act in 1942. Almost 70 years later, the Institute continues to lead the way. Ontario’s recently-announced Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten program was modeled in large part on Institute findings and recommendations.

 “I am pleased to be able to make a financial contribution to one of my lifelong interests – the understanding of early human development, and to enlightening educators and parents alike to the very best child-rearing and educational practices,” said Dr. Eric Jackman. “I believe that supporting the Institute, one of the original child study centres in North America with which I have a personal connection, will enhance our knowledge of how we develop and learn.”

Institute director Dr. Janette Pelletier says the Institute is indebted to Eric for his milestone gift and for supporting the shared need to better understand early human development and improve childhood education. “We look forward to building an expanded Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. The timing of this great gift is especially important as we begin to connect Ontario’s new Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten policy to our ground-breaking work in family literacy, parent engagement and the benefits of inquiry-based teaching.”  

Dr. Eric Jackman’s lead gift to the $12 million ICS Building Campaign launches the public phase of the Campaign, for which over two third’s has been raised. A modern wing will be added to a planned renovation for Leighton G. McCarthy House, featuring a large multi-purpose auditorium/gymnasium to strengthen existing Institute programming and accommodate new community outreach programs for the public.
The expanded facility, centrally located, will allow the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study to open its doors to serve Toronto families for best-practice teaching and family learning; as well as welcome the broader education community and related disciplines.  These programs will be undertaken in partnership with governments, public school boards and professional and community agencies.   
Chair of the Advisory Board for the ICS Building Campaign since 2004, Dr. Eric Jackman has been a supporter of the University for many years.  He is chairman of the Jackman Foundation as well as Invicta Investments. As a community leader Dr. Jackman, together with his wife Sara Jackman, has combined a passion for the arts and education with tireless professional dedication to family well-being.
After completing his BA and MA at U of T, Eric Jackman earned a doctoral degree in human development and psychology at the University of Chicago, where he did early field work at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. Dr. Jackman was an award-winning clinical psychologist in the United States before returning to Toronto, and currently serves as President of the Psychology Foundation of Canada. Dr. Jackman is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Windsor.  Among his many honours are the CMHA C.M. Hincks National Award for Mental Health, Canada’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal, Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Order of Ontario, and has been recognized by three Ontario universities with honorary doctor of laws degrees.

Dr. Eric Jackman and his three siblings – Chancellor Emeritus (U of T) Hal Jackman, the Rev. Edward Jackman and Senator Nancy Ruth – all attended what is now known as the ICS Lab School. 

Since its establishment at the University of Toronto, the Institute has continued its tripartite mission, which, in addition to innovative classroom practice, integrates the Laidlaw Research Centre and a two-year Master of Arts program in Child Study and Education and Ontario Teacher certification. The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study regularly hosts distinguished scholars and educators from around the world who recognize it as a source of inspiration that links what we know about children’s development, to optimal learning in the classroom and graduate teacher education.

More information:
Kate Brand
OISE Communications