Best-selling author James Patterson establishes scholarships for The Teachers College


Patterson ScholarsNational Merit Finalist. A desire to give back to an inner city community. Inspired by teachers who served as mentors. 

These are just some ways to describe eight Emporia State University students who have two very important things in common — they are pursuing education degrees from The Teachers College at Emporia State and, thanks to the generosity of best-selling author James Patterson, they each will receive $6,000 toward their freshman year. 

“My passion is to get more and more kids excited about reading, and training the next generation of great teachers is essential to that mission,” explained Patterson, who established the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships at Emporia State. 

Patterson contacted Emporia State President Dr. Michael D. Shonrock to offer the scholarships. Wrote Patterson: “I’ve been looking to bring the Teacher Education Scholarships to more schools and, after studying a number of institutions and programs, I think The Teachers College would be a great addition.” 

The author’s books include the Alex Cross and Woman’s Murder Club series for adults and Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard and Middle School series for young adults. Patterson holds the Guinness record for the author with the most titles to hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. 

Patterson is passionate about getting children to read and believes that teachers are key to the effort, explained Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College. 

“Mr. Patterson chose Emporia State University as a recipient of his generosity because he was impressed with how The Teachers College is preparing the next generation of great teachers,” said Weaver. “This gift will make a substantial difference in the lives of these students.” 

The surprise gift is a significant achievement for Emporia State, according to DenaSue Potestio, Emporia State Foundation president and CEO and vice president for advancement. 

“James Patterson’s generous gift will open doors for a new generation of teachers to share his passion for literacy with their students,” Potestio said. The eight recipients of the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships at Emporia State University are: 

Michelle Berg of Wichita, 

Samantha Buchanan of Grantville, 

Leanne Feathers of Wamego, 

Jennifer Gottstein of Lawrence, 

Joseph Hamer of Wichita, 

Sarah Johnson of Wichita, 

Travisray Salyers of Eudora, and 

JaShawn Wallace of Kansas City, Kan.