The conference is made possible through an endowment by Ron Gentile and Kay Johnson-Gentile in support of excellence in teaching.
The Genteels' Excellence in Teaching Conference was named for The Genteels—the stage name for many years of J. Ronald Gentile and Kay Johnson-Gentile. In their role as professional musicians, The Genteels composed, performed and recorded what they called "Adult music for children; Children's music for adults," as well as conducted workshops for teachers on how to integrate music into elementary school curricula.
In their academic roles, both professors were intimately involved in the improvement of teaching. An alumna of UB (AA, 1966, in Music; BA, 1980, in History; EdM 1987, and PhD, 1990 in Elementary Education), Johnson-Gentile was a respected teacher in Buffalo State College's Elementary Education and Reading Department from 1990–2002. Her professional interests and publications include strategies for teaching math, science and social studies, cooperative teams and conflict resolution, and staff development. In 2002, Kay received SUNY's prestigious Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
An alumnus of the Pennsylvania State University (B.S., 1963 and MS, 1964, in Psychology; PhD, 1967, in Educational Psychology), J. Ronald Gentile was a member of UB's faculty from 1969–2004. His teaching and publications span the field of the psychology of instruction and assessment, including social-emotional issues, memory by fast and slow learners, instructional strategies, mastery learning and grading. In 1991, Gentile received SUNY's Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 1998 he was promoted to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor.