Celebrating the presentation of a $200,000 check from the Legislature and the Louisiana Board of Regents are (left to right) state Reps. Ernest Baylor, Wayne Waddell and B.L. Shaw along with Regent Ron Roberts, President Kenneth Schwab, Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie and Sen. Max Malone. The check represents the Regents' 40 percent match to complete five endowed professorships valued at a total of $500,000.
The event marked the completion of a local and state funding effort which matches $40,000 from the Board of Regents Support Fund with $60,000 raised by Centenary for each of the endowed professorships. Ron Roberts of the Louisiana Board of Regents presented a check for $200,000 to Centenary President Kenneth L. Schwab. It will be matched with a $300,000 anonymous private contribution to Centenary to total the half-million dollars that will endow the five professorships.
Three of the endowments will support faculty research while two will support a new leadership program at the college, Schwab said. "We are very grateful to the Legislature and the Board of Regents for their excellent support of higher education in Louisiana," he said.
The endowed professorship program is part of the Regents' innovative Support Fund, which began as a $540 million permanent trust fund approved by the voters of Louisiana in a 1986 constitutional amendment. By 1998, the trust fund had risen to over $875 million. The funds were part of a settlement between the state and federal governments over offshore oil and gas revenue.
Each year the Legislature appropriates half the interest from the fund to the Board of Regents, the policy-making and coordinating agency for all higher education in Louisiana. The other half goes to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for grades K-12 and vocational-technical programs.
Centenary now has a total of 15 professorships endowed at $100,000 each and nine Eminent Scholars chairs, endowed at $1 million each, for a total of $10.5 million in conjunction with the Regents Support Fund. The endowments were made possible through the generosity of college donors, whose funds were matched 60:40 by the Board of Regents Support Fund.
In describing the partnership with the private sector, Dr. Savoie said, "Private contributions such as those given to support these endowed chairs and professorships are critical to the well-being of our colleges and universities. Government cannot do everything. This is a shared responsibility."
Since 1986, the Board of Regents has awarded over $50 million in matching funds for 128 endowed chairs distributed across 20 campuses and $23.6 million in matching funds for 590 professorships at 30 campuses.
Centenary College's New Endowed Professorships: