In 1969, Dr. Robert Monke arrived at Fresno State as a faculty member in the School of Education, now known as, the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. Kremen had no idea at the time that he would soon become one of the most prolific and generous champions of education in the school’s history. Dr. Monke dedicated both his career and retirement to improving educational opportunities for students in the San Joaquin Valley by supporting the Kremen School and advancing teacher training opportunities. He prized equality, advocacy, justice, and community above all else and devoted his efforts to improving the lives of those who are underrepresented. Dr. Monke focused primarily on counseling, teacher preparation, gender equity, diversity, and community collaboration. In 1985, he was named associate dean of the Kremen School and served as interim dean from 1988-1989 and 1996-1997.
In 1993, after assisting with the relocation and construction of the Kremen School’s current building, he set his sights on a new mission. Dr. Monke became a driving force in the development of the Teachers and Friends of Education Honor Wall outside of the Kremen School. He also served as the chair of the Brick Campaign Committee for more than 20 years. These selfless efforts inspired his colleagues to establish a scholarship in his name to help support future counselors and teachers, a fund which has currently raised over $108,000.
Dr. Monke retired in 2002, however, he has not ceased giving back to the community and supporting Fresno State in every way he can. He currently serves on the Kremen Alumni Chapter Board, leading one of the most engaged alumni chapters at Fresno State. His legacy lives on most prominently through the continued expansion of the Teachers and Friends Honor Wall. The first completed wall has a total of 3,732 bricks, with wall #5 recently established.
Individuals who wish to honor teachers and other special members of the community can purchase a commemorative brick intended for placement on the wall. Many individuals have been impacted by an educator who made a difference in their life, and desire to show their gratitude in a meaningful way. They can do so with the purchase of a brick for $125.00. The recipient will receive notification of the gift along with a certificate. The donor will receive a “letter of appreciation” for remembering the honoree with this special gift.
All funds received from brick donations are used to improve educational technology for teachers and education specialists. These funds have been directed toward the purchase of computer laboratories and other technological equipment used in classrooms at the Kremen School. Technology is a dominant resource, whether students are learning how to teach by showing technology accessibility or by using multimedia tools. It is essential that students learn how to become innovative and creative with their teaching methods, something that technology makes possible. If you would like to donate to the Kremen School to assist with keeping the classroom technology current, please click here.
(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.)