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Investing in Little Learners

Finkelstein Makes a Lasting Impact for Early Childhood Education

Dr. Judy Finkelstein

Dr. Judy Finkelstein, left, and Dr. Beth Van Meeteren, director of the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education, explore the renovated Integrative Classroom Studio.

Dr. Judy Finkelstein is a champion for public education—preschool through university. The emeritus faculty member’s career in early childhood education spanned 50 years, and retirement hasn’t stopped her. Judy remains involved with the College of Education and the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education.

“I want to be active in all the things I was involved in throughout my career,” Judy says. “It made sense for me to keep participating after I retired.”

Judy represented UNI on the statewide taskforce created by Gov. Terry Branstad in 1985 to write more developmentally appropriate guidelines for programs for four-year-old and kindergarten public school programs. The taskforce led to the creation of the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education. Housed in the Schindler Education Center at UNI, the Regents’ Center works collaboratively with groups across the state to enhance the teaching and learning process for young children.

Judy stays in contact with current Regents’ Center Director Dr. Beth Van Meeteren, whose work emphasizes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in early learning classrooms. Judy hopes her gifts will invigorate the work of the center and the College of Education.

“There is potential the Integrative Classroom Studio located in the Regents’ Center will be used in ways we haven’t even thought of for students across campus, on other campuses, and by teachers and school districts around the state and nation,” Judy says.

In addition to supporting the Regents’ Center, Judy and her late husband, Dr. Melville Finkelstein, have supported other programs across campus and included UNI in their estate plan.

Judy loves to help solve problems. Her optimism and enthusiasm keep her energized. “You really can make a difference if you are passionate about something,” she says.

Create Your Panther Legacy

There are many ways to make a lasting impact for our students and programs. Contact Jane Halverson at (319) 273-4665 or to discuss ways you can create your own legacy at UNI.

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