UTSA faculty endowments are the gifts that keep on giving

John Frederick

John Frederick
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(Nov. 13, 2009)--Some gifts really do keep on giving. That's especially true in the case of endowed faculty positions at growing universities such as UTSA. Established through gifts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million, these faculty endowments help recruit and retain renowned scholars, researchers, teachers and artists at UTSA.

"The real benefit to having these positions is our ability to attract the very best faculty," said John Frederick, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs. "They provide a special environment for our students and as nationally recognized scholars, mentor their colleagues by promoting new and innovative ways of doing things."

At UTSA, 36 faculty, or more than 6 percent of tenured faculty, hold special titles ranging from "endowed professorship" to "distinguished university chair." Established by generous donors, these positions allow faculty to extend the reach of their scholarly expertise in a variety of creative and useful ways and elevate UTSA's recognition in both academic and professional circles.

>> Watch UTSA Today for a series of Spotlight stories about how six faculty members in various colleges are putting their unrestricted endowment funds to use. **

These activities include supporting undergraduate or graduate student research, developing and hosting scholarly conferences, purchasing key research equipment, presenting research in progress at scholarly conferences, and supporting the endowed professor's own research and professional outreach.

You'll also hear from the donors themselves -- through comments on the lasting value of their gifts -- which in many cases were made in honor of loved ones. Endowments may be established for existing faculty or to recruit new senior faculty to campus, according to Frederick. Regardless, each endowment acts to establish a legacy of learning that lasts for generations.

Establishing a new faculty endowment is a little bit like matchmaking. "We try to match what donors are passionate about with things that are very active areas of interest for the university," Frederick said. "When it works, it's wonderful."

As the chief academic officer of the university, Frederick notes that faculty endowments play a key role in university's plans for growth and development. And he thinks it's an area where donors can feel especially gratified.

"I think people feel good about having a significant role in successfully bringing a key person to an institution," Frederick said. "If you want to do something that's going to have a wide-ranging impact over a number of years, then bringing in a scholar who is very strong and has the ability to influence or attract others -- that's a pretty big impact."

The UTSA Today series will offer a snapshot of UTSA endowments at work with articles on these six faculty members:

  • Mauli Agrawal (Engineering), David and Jennifer Spencer Distinguished Chair for the Dean of Engineering
  • Dana Forgione (Business), Janey S. Briscoe Endowed Chair in Business
  • David Frego (Music), Roland K. Blumberg Distinguished Professor of Music
  • William Dupont (Architecture), San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professorship
  • Weldon W. Hammond (Geological Sciences), Amy Shelton and VH McNutt Distinguished Professorship in Geology
  • Sonja L. Lanehart (English), Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities

 

Minimum gift level to fund UTSA endowment

Endowed academic position Gift amount *
Distinguished University Chair $2 million
Distinguished Chair $1.5 million
Chair $1 million
Distinguished Professorship $500,000
Professorship $250,000

 

* An endowment may be established in many ways with a single gift paid out over a period of time through a gift of securities or through a trust or estate gift.

Source: UTSA Giving Opportunities

** Faculty members have access to the interest generated by the principal of the gift; the University of Texas Investment Management Company manages the principal in perpetuity.