What’s the best investment someone can make? Candice Nadler, BS ’70, MEd ’82, shares the belief that effective early childhood development programs lead to better outcomes for youth and a good quality of life for all. Her experience as a student in the Institute of Child Development led to a successful career and a lifelong dedication to building healthy futures for children.
As a first-generation college student, Candice had limited examples of professions that required higher education. Her initial plan to become a librarian shifted after a powerful experience volunteering with children living in a hospital facility throughout their medical treatment.
She pursued a master’s in early childhood education at the Institute of Child Development (ICD) under the guidance of legendary professor Shirley G. Moore, gaining exposure to faculty doing the most current work in the field. She recalls that the ICD building was “rickety” even then and adds, “Today, the space is completely inappropriate for a top-ranked program like ours.”
Candice drew upon her fondness and talent for working with children throughout her career. She served as head teacher for the U child-care program’s infant class. She later taught in several community preschool and parent education programs and worked for more than a decade as a therapist at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. In semi-retirement, she volunteered with ICD’s Center for Early Education and Development and remains an independent consultant and writer on wellness and family issues. She also contributes time and expertise to CEHD as a member of the Alumni Society Board and Improving Lives campaign cabinet. CEHD recognized Candice’s career contributions and service with a Distinguished Alumni Award in November 2014 and an Alumni Excellence Award in November 2018.
Her passion for keeping up with the latest research on human development continues. One topic especially resonates: the economic impact of investing in early childhood development. The high public return on programs that promote the early growth and development of children has been described extensively by Arthur Rolnick, former senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and others.
Candice knows the Institute of Child Development is a leader in providing evidence-based practices and training future educators for early childhood programs across the state and world. She saw a connection between the need to replace its “rickety” building and ensuring the institute continues to be well respected and globally competitive.
Candice and her husband Chuck, JD ’73, are proud that they made the first-ever gift to the Institute of Child Development building project with a modest contribution in 2012. Now, several years later, they have made a larger commitment in honor of Candice’s history with ICD and personal advocacy on behalf of the project.
“We wanted to set the stage for good things to happen,” says Candice. “It’s so important for children to thrive and reach their potential. The research coming out of ICD has a direct influence on making that possible, and our gift will help sustain that work.”
Story by Ann Dingman | Illustration courtesy of CEHD Improving Lives campaign | Photos University Archives; A.M. Photography | Winter 2019