Much is Given; Much is Expected
The Andrea-Mennen family gave $500,000 in philanthropic gifts to the College of Education in 2017 to support special education students, programs, faculty as well as students who need financial assistance to teach and travel abroad.
They created the Andrea Mennen Family Endowed Fund, the Andrea Mennen Family Endowed Fellowship for the Alice Neeley Special Education Research & Service (ANSERS) Institute and the Adam Andrea Study Abroad Endowed Fund.
Christina Mennen Andrea lives by the motto, “Unto whom much is given; much is expected.” Her family founded the Mennen Company, most famous for Speed Stick. She said her father instilled a value of education in her, and she has passed those values on to her son Adam, a 2017 Early Childhood Education graduate from TCU.
The TCU Experience
From the minute Christina saw Adam’s hand-signed acceptance letter from Chancellor Victor Boschini, she knew that TCU was different.
“What sets TCU apart from other colleges is that the people genuinely care about the students and want them to be happy and to succeed,” Christina said.
Her family’s experience reflects that of many in the College of Education. For the past five years, 50 percent of the College’s philanthropic gifts came from parents.
Adam came to TCU his sophomore year, knowing he wanted to major in education with a special education emphasis. He struggled in elementary school and wanted to figure out how to help all learners based on their needs. Before attending TCU, he volunteered with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Young Men’s Service League and realized the need for more males in early education.
Adam said the rigorous program at TCU, combined with his study abroad trip to provided him with the philosophy, experience, and skills to help all children succeed.
The Global Experience
Seniors have the option to travel abroad during their last semester to teach. For the first time in 2017, Panama was an option for teacher candidates, and Adam traveled with four of his classmates.
While teaching in Panama, Adam and his group visited Balboa Academy, an international school that offers students large amounts of learning and play time outdoors. Some schoolteachers in the area even asked the students about their opinion on special education practices.
“It was eye-opening for my world view to see a third world country and to compare teaching materials,” Adam said.
Christina wanted more TCU Education students to receive the same opportunities that her son did. “I heard that some students wouldn’t be able to study abroad, and I wasn’t going to let that happen,” she said.
The family looks forward to seeing the lasting impact of their generous gift as future students pursue their passions in education.