The University of Cincinnati Foundation

The University of Cincinnati Foundation

UC Alumna, Elementary Teacher Provides Lesson in Paying it Forward

Tammy Vandierendonck

Tammy Vandierendonck has been teaching elementary students at Princeton City Schools for nearly three decades. She says it’s the best job she has ever had.

Now, as she nears her well-deserved retirement, she wants to give back to the school that made it all possible – the University of Cincinnati.

Vandierendonck graduated from UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH) in the fall of 1985 with a master’s in special education. UC was able to offer her a tuition grant that allowed her to pursue the degree while enjoying a true UC experience.

“All of my experiences at UC were positive,” Vandierendonck said. “I enjoyed being in the master’s degree program because we were a small, diverse group. Most of my classmates were experienced teachers which meant there was more interaction and lively discourse with our professors. There was a sense of community among us.”

She hopes her recent $5,000 gift will let a student enjoy that same sense of community.

“I hope that my gift gives a student the opportunity to pursue an education that will help him or her achieve their dreams,” she said.

Vandierendonck says a number of UC professors helped make her own dreams possible.

“UC gave me invaluable experience student teaching in an urban setting at Chase Elementary School,” she said. “I will be forever grateful to Dr. Piyush Swami who advised me to take additional elementary methods courses to earn an elementary retraining certificate which ultimately led me to my career as an elementary school teacher.”

Tammy is not the only Vandierendonck to have enjoyed a UC education. In fact, the family boasts four UC alumni, including an uncle who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and went on to develop the first microprocessor at Texas Instruments, an aunt who also achieved her education degree, a father who earned a degree in industrial management and a brother who obtained an operations management degree. All have benefited from UC’s influence in their lives.

Vandierendonck is happy to pay it forward.