Giving to Endowed Positions

Endowed chairs and professorships at Michigan State are the gold standard of faculty distinction and recognition. As the best and brightest in their fields, these leaders carry a special responsibility to: 

  • Address areas of critical importance
  • Strengthen a discipline
  • Build a network of experts

In order for our programs to continue to creatively break new ground, and serve as leading contributors to the world’s prosperity, we need to recruit and retain the level of faculty talent that will bring new ideology, attract top graduate students, and put us in a position to fight for dwindling federal funding.

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Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Prestigious universities recognize the value of endowed chairs and professorships to attract and retain outstanding faculty. Endowments not only generate financial support to supplement salaries, they also seed research and scholarly work, support graduate students and provide support staff who can leverage more productivity from talented, but time-limited faculty.

While the financial support and security conveyed by appointment to an endowed position is personally significant, the prestige of being named to an endowed chair is invaluable to the faculty member. The ability to add an honorific after one’s name indicates recognition as a leader in their discipline. The title appears in all references: in published papers, at academic conferences featuring this distinguished speaker, in grant applications, and in press releases announcing new discoveries made by the faculty member’s research team. For many faculty members, an endowed chair or professorship is the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon them.

It is widely understood that endowed chairs and endowed professorships make a difference in securing competitive research grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, and other significant funders. Grant reviewers who evaluate competing funding requests have an inclination to shortlist the applications from endowed faculty for closer examination due to the prestige factor that an endowed title adds. Unfortunately for Michigan State, this is also an area where we have lagged behind our peers. Michigan State has been slow to grow this important asset in faculty recognition.

The Importance of Endowed Faculty

At the heart of any successful department is an extraordinary faculty. These intellectuals are the researchers and teachers that attract others, thus elevating the scholarly dialogue and rigor at Michigan State University. Outstanding faculty serve as a resource for the community, industry, alumni and other academics, and raise the profile of the entire college among its peers and within industries. There is strong competition among universities for the best faculty, and endowed positions are one of the most pivotal factors in deciding between offers.

As the nation’s pioneer land-grant university, it is our responsibility to recruit and support faculty who are unafraid to tackle the world’s most challenging issues. At the same time, as federal funding for research and state funding for higher education continues to decline, now more than ever we need partners who understand the importance of private support to retain our top researchers and educators.

World-Changing Research

  • An endowed professorship supports the scholarly pursuits of a talented individual, raising our research output and educational standards. In addition, funds from this endowment will provide the seed money for the holder to conduct their initial research. This will give them the ability to gather substantial data, and leverage their findings to secure additional outside funding, thus creating boundless potential for ground-breaking research within specific disciplines.
  • When endowed faculty publish, it is under the title of an endowed professorship at Michigan State University, bringing even more recognition to the department and position.

A Source of Ambition and Action

  • Endowed Professors are driven and creative, and ready to tackle pressing challenges alongside their colleagues and students. They will be the spark that ignites a flame of discovery not only within their home department, but within the College and across the university.
  • Endowed Professors inject much-needed energy and passion into their program, and act as a magnet to attract the strongest graduate and undergraduate researchers. Ultimately, the endowed professor has the potential to spearhead the momentum of the department’s national and international status among research institutions.

A Culture of Collaboration

  • Perhaps most critically, endowed professors cross-pollinate and collaborate across disciplines. At MSU there are experts and researchers in every field imaginable.
  • Endowed professors recognizes the talent and value their peers can offer to their research and vice-versa. They break down the silos that can sometimes stifle innovation. With the right individuals in endowed positions, we can leverage their skills to stimulate interdisciplinary research across campus.

Your Support for MSU Matters

We are at a tipping point as the competition for talented faculty, postdoctoral academics and graduate students intensifies. MSU needs help from its friends and alumni to ensure that we are well-positioned to compete for the best people.

An investment of endowed funding in support of faculty will go farther and do more to help MSU compete as a world-class, great research university in the 21st century than almost any other type of support to the university.

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