The school will unveil the Dawn Hochsprung Center for the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety.
Hochsprung was among the 27 people, including five other educators and 20 children, killed by Adam Lanza on Dec. 14 in the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. Lanza killed his mother first, then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School. Hochsprung, the school's principal, was among the first people killed when she rushed at the gunman shortly after he shot his way into the locked building.
Hochsprung began her doctoral studies at Sage this past summer, commuting to the program from Connecticut. She was the type of person who connected everybody in the small group of students, all of whom were school leaders, Sage Colleges President Susan Scrimshaw said.
Scrimshaw said the idea for the center came out of a discussion with Hochsprung's doctoral class. The students all agreed that the best way to honor Hochsprung was to promote the ideas of student safety she valued and to do work that could prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.
"I see school safety as going beyond locking the doors or even worse, getting guns," Scrimshaw said. "When we're talking about school safety, we're talking about creating an environment where kids are psychologically safe."
The Hochsprung Center will be part of Sage's Esteves School of Education and will be an area inside of the existing building at 37 First St. in Troy.
It will be a research and communication center that will knit together existing classes in education, science and politics, Scrimshaw said. It will elevate student safety and mental health to be an essential part of educator training.
Educators will learn that character education, anti-bullying coursework and other disciplines that build student confidence are all an essential part of keeping schools safe.
Scrimshaw said that was a fitting legacy for Hochsprung, who believed in the same principles. She said Hochsprung's family wanted something positive to come out of the tragedy, something that went beyond the same old bitter gun control debates.
Scrimshaw said people began making donations to the school in Hochsprung's name and the center was the best way to memorialize her generosity as an educational leader.
Sage will give Hochsprung her doctorate posthumously with her class in May 2015. The school is also holding a memorial service for Hochsprung on Saturday at its Albany campus.
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