AUBURN - Fifty Auburn University faculty members were awarded endowed professorships Thursday as part of a strategic initiative undertaken by Auburn President Jay Gogue to recognize the exceptional merit of existing Auburn faculty.
During a targeted one-year campaign, the goal to fund 81 professorships was exceeded by more than 17 percent, with a total of 95 professorships being funded.
"Faculty are vital to the future of this university," said Gogue. "Their knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment provide a foundation for all learning central to Auburn students' success. Endowed professorships recognize the important roles our professors play and help Auburn retain faculty of the highest caliber."
President Gogue and Provost Mary Ellen Mazey opened the ceremony, which took place at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. As faculty members receiving the endowed professorships were called up one by one and introduced by their deans, the donors who had provided the funding for their professorships were also recognized. After recipients were presented gifts by President Gogue, each was seated in one of 50 wooden chairs placed on the stage to symbolize the professorships. Recipients will receive salary enhancements of approximately $14,000 when fully funded.
Walt Woltosz, Chairman and CEO of Simulations Plus Inc. is one of more than 200 donors who helped make this initiative a success. He funded professorships in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.
"Supporting these endowed professorships is an excellent way to have a lasting impact on the quality of education provided by Auburn," said Woltosz. "You can't have an outstanding university without outstanding faculty and students. Competition for exceptional faculty is a fact. If we don't recognize and reward the best of the best, we will not be able to retain them. By providing these endowed professorships, we're pleased to help support Auburn Engineering in doing so."
The academic disciplines represented by the newly endowed professorships include agriculture, architecture, education, engineering, forestry, human sciences, liberal arts, nursing, pharmacy, provost (university-wide), sciences and mathematics and veterinary medicine.
"An endowed and named professorship is one of the highest honors that the university bestows on members of the faculty," said Donna Bohanan, Joseph A. Kicklighter Professor in the Department of History and 2010 recipient of the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. "By their very nature they bring recognition to those who have excelled in research and teaching. It is an acknowledgment that is both humbling and gratifying."
(Written by Neali Vann.)