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Endowed Chair

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What is an endowed chair?

An endowed chair is generally a position permanently paid for with the revenue from an endowment fund specifically established for that purpose. Typically, the position is and/or its resources are designated to be in a certain department or college and there is an opportunity for naming the position. Endowed chairs aid the university by augmenting related salaries and associated resource requirements. This helps BSU reduce its student-to-faculty ratio, a statistic used for college rankings and other institutional evaluations, and/or redirect money that would otherwise have been spent on salaries toward other university needs. In addition, the endowed chair position is considered to be an honor in the academic world, and the university can use them to reward its best faculty or to recruit top professors from other institutions.

What is the significance of the position?

It is among the highest honors that the university can bestow on a faculty member, and it lasts as long as the university exists. It is both an honor to the named chair of the appointment and also an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it.

Why do donors make gifts to establish endowed positions?

While the reasons for giving vary, the common theme is people care about the world around them. Donors understand the great strategic importance of endowed gifts to the university and care about advancing the field in which they are most passionate about. They want the most talented professors, researchers and students available to them, who can help solve specific issues that affect them personally or professionally.

What are the benefits?

  • To You (the Donor): Donors provide funds for the overall improvement of the university, but some have personal interests in specific areas of study. By funding an endowed chair the university can convene the brightest minds to focus on a particular problem or issue and spur advances in those areas.
  • To the Chairs/Professors: Recognition of continued contributions by colleagues and administration as well as providing funds to enhance the learning environment. The funds can propel research, help pay student workers or create opportunities for collaboration with scholars around the world.
  • To the Students: One professor or chair can touch hundreds of lives through the courses they teach, the students they mentor, or through their own academic work. Having endowed faculty means students get to “rub elbows” with the most talented scholars in the world. Students not only learn from textbooks, but from the real world of discovery and innovation.
  • To Businesses and Corporations: In a constantly evolving global society, corporations realize the pace is often driven by the private sector, but much of the long-term thinking, basic research and most fundamental discoveries occur inside universities. Corporations support endowed chairs as a way to give back to institutions that provide them with top-notch talent. The relationship also connects corporations with professors, researchers and students who can inspire innovation and imaginative ideas in a competitive environment.
  • To the University: In American higher education, endowed positions have become the gold standard for recruiting and retaining the highest quality faculty. The greatest institutions have the best minds, the most creative researchers and the most engaged teachers. Building a strong base of faculty talent enriches the academic environment, which attracts the brightest students.

How many endowed positions does BSU need?

The very best universities in the country typically have a third of their faculty members in endowed positions. As Bowie State University continues to evolve, our need for endowed positions will continue to grow. The university seeks to establish its first endowed chair position in 2017 and add more endowed positions annually in its quest to become one of the best public comprehensive universities in the nation. That means we must have the best talent. Endowed positions make it possible to recruit and retain that talent.

What is the minimal investment to establish the position?

  • $1.5 million