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» Education Presidential Fellows

Erin Gruwell

Erin GruwellPresidential Fellow in Teacher Education
Educator and philanthropist Erin Gruwell first became known with the publication of her book, The Freedom Writers Diary, which became a New York Times bestseller. The book tells the story of Erin Gruwell’s time as a teacher in Woodrow Wilson High School’s Room 203 in urban Long Beach. Through journal entries, her students, who called themselves the Freedom Writers, share their stories, many of which talked of daily hardships including gang violence, abuse, and drugs.

The feature film “Freedom Writers” starring Hilary Swank and released in 2007 was based on the book. And more recently, their story was made into a PBS documentary called Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart, which was shared with Chapman's students and community during an on-campus exclusive screening in spring 2019.

Since the film’s release, Gruwell joined with many of her original students to form the Freedom Writers Foundation to foster an educational philosophy that values and promotes diversity, fights for equality in education, and inspires teachers and students all over the world.

In 2018, Gruwell was awarded the Attallah College’s Changing the World Award. She continues to advocate for equality in education and has inspired teachers and pupils alike from all over the world with her story, her work, and her abiding compassion for students.

Maryanne Wolf

Dr. Maryanne WolfPresidential Fellow in Education
Dr. Maryanne Wolf was the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, and the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Development in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. Currently, she is Visiting Professor at UCLA, where she directs the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. She will be the Chapman University Presidential Fellow from 2018-2020. She is also affiliated with the Dyslexia Center in the UCSF Medical School and with Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Initiative, which she co-founded. The latter initiative aims to help nonliterate children in remote regions in Africa, India, Australia, and our own backyards to learn to read on tablets.

Dr. Wolf is the recipient of multiple research and teaching honors, including the Fulbright Fellowship, the American Psychological Association Teaching Award, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study for the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the NICHD Innovative Research Award, and the highest awards by the International Dyslexia Association and the Australian Learning Disabilities Association. She is the author of Proust and the Squid (Harper), Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (Oxford University Press), and more than 160 scientific publications. She lectures around the world, including multiple presentations on global literacy for disenfranchised children at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.