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Named professorships reach 100

David and Kathleen Hollowell
5 p.m., Oct. 4, 2004--The number of endowed professorships at the University of Delaware has increased more than tenfold, reaching a significant milestone with the endowment this month of the 100th such position, UD President David P. Roselle announced Oct. 4 at the General Faculty Meeting in 104 Gore Hall.

“There is no great university without a great faculty,” Roselle said. “Endowed professorships are an important way to support a great faculty, because they are helpful in recruiting and retaining the best professors.”

In the early 1990s, the University had fewer than 10 endowed professorships, funded by a total of about $4.9 million. Today, that endowment is approximately $55 million and supports 100 professorships and chairs.

“This growth hasn’t been an accident,” Provost Dan Rich said. “It’s been a targeted priority under President Roselle’s leadership.”

Rich noted that the goal of increasing the number of endowed professorships was set before the University launched its comprehensive fund-raising initiative, the Campaign for Delaware, in 1998. But, he said, the Campaign’s priorities included an emphasis on attracting and retaining the finest professors and rewarding top faculty members for their teaching, research and service. As a result of that targeted objective, the number of endowed professorships and chairs increased rapidly during the successful Campaign.

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The latest professorship has been endowed by Kathleen and David Hollowell to support a position in the Department of Mathematical Sciences focusing on secondary school math education. Kathleen Hollowell is director of the University’s Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center, and David Hollowell is UD executive vice president and treasurer. Both joined the University 17 years ago.

The Kathleen and David Hollowell Professorship will recognize a faculty member who is “actively involved in teaching, research and service in the area of secondary school mathematics.” The recipient has not yet been selected.

The Hollowells said they had been planning such a major donation to the University for some time. When they realized that the number of endowed professorships was nearing 100, they decided it would be meaningful, as members of the UD community, to use their gift to mark that milestone. “Having 100 endowed positions takes the University to the next level, and we thought that was important,” Kathleen Hollowell said.

“Great universities have significant numbers of named professors,” David Hollowell said. “We’ve both worked in education our entire lives, and we wanted a way to recognize high achievement.”

That’s exactly what endowed professorships do, according to Rich. “The endowed professors define what excellence means in teaching, research and service. They serve as a model for high standards,” he said.

Roselle said the establishment of endowed professorships brings both institutional and personal benefits. For individual faculty members, he said, the position is an honor that brings recognition and financial support for the professor’s teaching, research and service.

“And, for the University, such positions help us recruit and retain leading professors, thus deepening our pool of instructional and research talent,” Roselle said.

The original goal was to create enough endowed positions that one-fourth of UD’s full professors could be recognized with such an honor. Roselle said he is “very pleased” that the objective now has been surpassed, with the potential for continued growth.

Endowed professorships have been established in all seven colleges, all academic domains and most departments, Rich said. Many focus on instruction and research, while other positions--including the Emily L. Phelps Director of The College School and the L. Sandra and Bruce L. Hammonds Professor in Teacher Education--emphasize service.

Rich says donors who choose to endow a faculty position recognize that such a gift is a way “to make a lasting, living contribution and strengthen the core of the University.

“When you think of the key relationship that makes up a university, it’s the connection between faculty and students,” he said. “Everything revolves around that. When you donate to the faculty endowment, that really strengthens the University’s core.”

The Hollowells said that was the thinking behind their decision to establish a professorship. Kathleen Hollowell, who is a mathematics educator herself, speaks of “the multiplier effect” that she and her husband expect the position to have.

“If you put an expert faculty member in a position to do excellent, high-level teaching and service, then each year that person is at the University, he or she will touch 10 to 20 graduate students,” she said. “Those students will then go on to teach in secondary schools, where they’ll touch 100 or more students a year, perhaps over a career of 30 years. In addition, the professor’s research will have an impact on the entire community of math educators nationwide.”

The University currently is well-known for a doctoral program that focuses on math education in elementary schools, and Kathleen Hollowell said she hopes the new professorship will extend that to increase the number of UD doctoral students working in the field of secondary math education. “We want the University to be ready to meet the demands, especially in content areas, of high standards in secondary math education,” she said.

In the years leading up to the 100th endowed position, numerous generous gifts to the University have been key to the growth in named professorships, which are funded by a minimum endowment of $350,000, and chairs, with a minimum endowment of $1 million, Robert R. Davis, vice president for development and alumni relations, said.

Among those, Davis said, have been donations from the Unidel Foundation established by Amy E. du Pont, which awarded UD $10 million for endowed positions; Chaplin Tyler, whose gifts to the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics currently support four professorships; the UD Alumni Association, which has established Distinguished Professorships recognizing significant contributions to undergraduate education through outstanding teaching and service; and Edward F. Rosenberg and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg. More recently, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which the University will match, will establish an endowed professorship in conservation science.

In the future, Roselle said, he expects faculty endowments to continue to grow in two ways. In some cases, new endowed positions will be created, and in others, current endowments will be increased to add to the support available.

Also at the Oct. 4 General Faculty Meeting, Roberta Golinkoff, H. Rodney Sharp Chair in Human Services, Education and Public Policy, presented a memorial tribute to Richard Venezky, who died June 11.

Article by Ann Manser
Photo by Jack Buxbaum

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