Professorships and Other Faculty Support
Gerald Early, PhD, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in the English Department and Professor of African and African-American Studies, working with a small group of students.
To rank among the world’s premier institutions of higher education, a university must have a great faculty—renowned teachers, scholars, researchers and professionals with diverse interests and achievements. Such gifted and dedicated faculty members attract undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students who are themselves among the world’s finest.
For all these reasons—and because it strongly encourages further accomplishment—support for faculty through endowed professorships is vitally important. Endowed professorships (often called endowed chairs) help bring the very best scholars and teachers to Washington University. And they help us keep them here—to teach, to write, to research, to create—and to contribute to community and the greater society.
Washington University's first endowed professorship dates from the institution’s early years. University cofounder Wayman Crow decided to honor his visionary colleague and fellow cofounder by establishing the William Greenleaf Eliot Professorship of Chemistry in 1856. That important early gift acknowledged the critical role of endowment for an independent institution of higher learning.
Since then, many dedicated friends have endowed professorships in each of the university's schools. These prized named professorships have been catalysts for the university's evolution into the internationally recognized institution it is today.
A named, endowed professorship is the highest honor a university can bestow upon a member of its faculty. Reserved for the most distinguished faculty, endowed professorships recognize extraordinary teaching and scholarship. The income from these permanently invested funds provides for salary, benefits and research support, and represents a long-term commitment that often enables these outstanding educators, artists and researchers to pursue projects at the frontiers of existing knowledge and understanding.
If you are interested in establishing an endowed fund, please feel free to contact David T. Blasingame, Executive Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Development Programs, by telephone at (314) 935-5850 or by email.