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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

What’s so BIG about a chair?

The effects of endowed chair positions are far-reaching.

In the academic world, funding a chair is a lot bigger commitment than buying a piece of furniture.  And it has a lot bigger impact.

The fact is, endowed chairs are at the center of outstanding academic programs and their effect radiates out across the university and beyond.  They are the highest honors awarded to faculty.  As such, they enable the university to attract rising stars. These high caliber professors, in turn, attract the very best graduate students to the university.  Additionally, the support from an endowed chair provides a funding buffer to enable faculty to remain current and leading edge in their research rather than “following the funding.”  Ultimately, their work provides distinguished leadership in research and education that leads to discoveries that touch the lives of countless others.

Currently, MSU has more than 90 endowments that have been created, or conditionally established through a planned gift provision, to support one or more endowed chair positions.  Yet, MSU lags in comparison to peer institutions in the number of endowed chairs, leaving the university vulnerable to losing its own rising stars.

“We are grateful for the generosity and vision of donors who play such a key role in MSU’s ability to recruit and retain first-rate faculty by endowing chair positions,” says MSU Provost Kim Wilcox.  “Named chairs allow the university to build academic excellence with effects that are far-reaching.”