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Harvard University announced yesterday the establishment of the University-wide $50 million Professorship Challenge Fund that will be used to establish professorships for both current professors and new hires.
“It is going to be a terrific effort,” said Donella M. Rapier, vice president for alumni affairs and development.
When donors give $3 million for faculty development, the Challenge Fund will match these gifts with $1 million. The fund will match $1.5 million gifts with $500,000.
Six donors, including University Treasurer James F. Rothenberg ’68, who helped to develop the fund, donated the $50 million that comprise it.
The donors made their gifts “without strings,” according to Rothenberg.
The fund aims to establish 45 professorships and 10 faculty development funds over the next three to five years, Rapier said.
“We are very excited that [the Challenge Fund] is something that cuts across the University,” she said.
The Challenge Fund will concentrate its contributions, however, on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), according to Rothenberg, who is also a member of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing board.
The Challenge Fund will predominately benefit FAS “because that is where the greatest expansion of the faculty is likely to take place,” said Rothenberg.
Rothenberg said that he identified the fund’s faculty angle after listening to Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby and University President Lawrence H. Summers “discuss the importance of expanding the faculty.”
Kirby said last month that he aims to grow the Faculty, which already includes over 700 members, to 750 by 2010.
With each $3 million gift, the donors can specify the field of a professorship.
“Normally, a donor has a particular interest in a particular field,” Rapier said.
The University then tries to match the donor’s terms according to the University’s interests.
“We always think...that this has to be useful 100 years from now,” added Rapier.
Rothenberg said that the University is not required to accept a gift if its terms do not match the University’s aims.
“You never have to accept an individual gift that you don’t want,” he said.
Although the Challenge Fund does not have quotas about how the 45 professorships will be distributed throughout the University, Rapier said that she hopes all the schools take advantage of the fund.
But the fund does not apply to either the Harvard Business School (HBS) or the Harvard Law School (HLS), which have their own sources of funding.
HBS announced last Thursday that it raised nearly $600 million in its first-ever capital campaign, while HLS is underway with its own campaign.
Rapier said that she hopes that Harvard’s smaller graduate schools will take advantage of the Challenge Fund because they do not have developed fundraising models like HBS or HLS.
She added that although earlier fundraising campaigns have successfully established professorships, the Challenge Fund is unprecedented in scale, as the first such effort focused on faculty throughout the University.
The University Campaign, completed in 1999, raised $2.6 billion for educational programs. In 2002, the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences established a $15 million challenge fund to endow 10 professorships and 10 innovation funds in Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Now that the University has set the $50 million to match donor gifts, the University will begin its search for potential donors.
“We have a list of people who...we are hoping will be the first to take advantage of the challenge,” said Rapier.
Alumni often make gifts at reunions, according to Rapier, and the school will target these events to work with donors about their interests.
—Staff writer Madeline W. Lissner can be reached at email@example.com.
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