Endowed Professorships

Endowed Professorships

Institutions of higher education often develop endowments that support professorships or chairs in various academic disciplines or fields of study.  The annual income from such endowments alleviates institutional need to allocate funding from annual budgets to support the salaries of the faculty-members who hold endowed academic professorships.

Generous donors who contribute funds to establish endowed professorships generally do so with one of the following purposes in mind: to honor a person of renown who has contributed significantly to a specific academic field of study; to memorialize an important member of a family; to bring attention to and to extend the work of an important field of study; or simultaneously to accomplish more than one of the previous aims.  Thus, such endowed professorships often carry the names of specific individuals: either the names of those whom donors want to honor or to memorialize; or the names of those individuals who have donated the funds to bring attention to and to extend work in a specific field of study or academic discipline.

At most institutions of higher education, academic officers typically appoint faculty-members to endowed professorships to reward or to draw public attention to exceptional academic achievements, widely-acknowledged contributions to a specific field of study in the larger academy, or exemplary service to an academic institution.  Berea College historically has developed three endowed academic professorships or chairs that either have supported or currently support academic studies of religions, spirituality, and culture: the Henry Mixter Penniman Professorship in Philosophy and Biblethe Eli Lilly Professorships in Religion; and the Francis Alexander McGaw Professorship in Religion.  Because Christians founded the College with both a decidedly Christian character and explicit Christian purposes, the following three endowed professorships originally reflected those Christian aims in their descriptions and/or names.