The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, working through the United Negro College Fund's campaign to help Katrina-stricken colleges, has pledged $600,000 that will help create as many as 12 endowed professorships at Xavier University.
The gift will be presented in $100,000 annual installments. Xavier President Norman Francis said Friday he hopes to split each year's gift and create two $100,000 professorships by getting $20,000 from private sources and asking the state Board of Regents for $80,000 more. Another option for the money, he said, would be to create a $1 million professorship with the Newhouse grant and $400,000 in matching money from the regents.
"The beauty of this is that it provides the leveraging opportunity that will double the investment," Francis said.
Endowed professorships are assets for recruiting and retaining faculty members and rewarding outstanding achievements, he said. They also give faculty members money to do the things they would like to do to enhance their work, including research and travel, Francis said.
"Faculty like to be appreciated," said Gene D'Amour, Xavier's senior vice president for resource development. "When you give a faculty member an endowed professorship, you're showing that the university appreciates him."
These positions could be important lures because Xavier needs to hire more professors to keep up with what is expected to be a growing student body, D'Amour said.
Francis said he has not decided which departments will get these positions.