Universities scramble to fill vacancies in endowed chairs, professorships

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

State universities are taking steps to fill vacancies in endowed chairs and professorships, for which donors have contributed millions of dollars.

After a Board of Regents report was critical of campuses for having so many unfilled endowed professorships and chairs, board members and regents staff have received notices that campuses are filling the slots or will fill most of them by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

An October report showed 76 endowed chairs — valued at least $1 million each and some as much as $3 million — and 450 endowed professorships — they are valued at least $100,000 each — were funded by private and state contributions but were unfilled. The report shows 263 (58 percent of those unfilled) have been vacant for at least two years.

If a college or university can raise 60 percent of the cost, the state supplies the other 40 percent when funds are available.

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