Endowed chairs are a hallmark of a great university. Endowed chairs offer many benefits to the University, the donor, honored scholars and, most of all, students.
The custom of endowing an academic chair originated in 16th-century England with just that—a chair. In those days, commoners sat on stools or wooden benches; the gentry sat on cushions. A chair, complete with arms, legs, and a back, was a valuable piece of furniture and an appropriate reward for a teacher who had reached the rank of professor.
Nowadays, the expression "endowed chair" is used to mean an academic position supported by the earnings from invested funds. Endowed chairs allow a university to recruit nationally for outstanding teaching beyond the funding provided by legislative appropriation.
At Dixie State University (DSU), an endowed chair provides salary and fringe benefits for the recipient and such support staff, travel, and other expenses as the endowment may permit in perpetuity. Such independent financing assures both the university and the faculty member of stability and continuity.
The esteemed scholars who are chair holders receive recognition for personal achievements in their fields, and the satisfaction that the University supports quality teaching in their discipline. Students are challenged and guided by exposure to the highest quality academic leadership.
At DSU, private philanthropic support is central to maintaining the quality of teaching. One of the most important types of gifts to higher education is an endowed chair, for an endowed chair ensures faculty excellence. Created by a philanthropic gift, these highly prized academic positions are supported by earnings from invested funds.
Donors who generously endow chairs know that they are not only ensuring academic excellence in teaching today, but that theirs is truly a gift to the future. Endowed chairs are living memorials, perpetuating the donor’s name, signifying a permanent commitment to quality education.