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Syracuse University announces gift challenge program for new faculty endowments

October 13, 2008

Kevin Morrow
(315) 443-3784

Kevin Morrow

To ensure Syracuse University's ability to attract and retain world-class educators in a competitive market, the SU Board of Trustees has allocated $30 million from the University's endowment for a new Faculty Today program, a gift challenge initiative created to encourage donors to endow faculty chairs and professorships.

Designed to accelerate the University's ability to recruit and retain world-class faculty, the Faculty Today program will supplement the earnings from a newly endowed fund of $1 million or more for five years. In addition, the school or college where the chair or professorship is established will provide a matching contribution, multiplying the buying power of the endowment gift and enabling SU to more rapidly hire and retain outstanding faculty.

"This significant commitment by the board provides our schools and colleges a new, innovative way to retain, reward and attract outstanding faculty," says Board of Trustees Chair John H. Chapple '75. "Faculty excellence is one of the highest priorities of The Campaign for Syracuse University because we know that having world-class professors ensures a top-quality education for our students and bolsters our competitiveness among peer institutions."

Of the $30 million being allocated, $25 million is earmarked to attract new "star" faculty and $5 million is intended to support new chairs and professorships for outstanding current faculty. "Competition for top-ranked faculty is intense and will become even more so as members of the Baby Boom generation begin to retire," says SU Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina. "The Faculty Today program is a way for us to 'supercharge' our buying power. It boosts the value of an already generous gift, allowing us to support an outstanding educator today, instead of years from now."

For example, if a donor establishes a faculty chair with a $1 million endowment gift, the income available in the first year will be about $40,000. When the fund's earnings are combined with Faculty Today dollars of $40,000 and the school/college contribution of $40,000, the available funds are essentially tripled. The resulting $120,000 can be used in the fund¿s first year to attract faculty with competitive salary packages, as well as the sophisticated research facilities, graduate assistants and other incentives faculty often require. As the initial gift increases, so do the dollars available. A fund created with a $2 million gift generates a total of $240,000; a fund established with a $5 million gift yields $600,000. After five years, the Faculty Today dollars are replaced through additional fundraising, realization of bequest commitments or reallocation of resources within the school/ college. For donors whose current financial circumstances do not allow for an immediate gift of $1 million or more, Faculty Today allows gifts to be made in installments and for donors age 70 or older offers the ability to fund a chair or professorship with a bequest. Examples of these can be found online at

"We have an outstanding array of faculty members who are engaged across the disciplines and in the community tackling the most important and challenging research and discovery work," says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "We are excited that our Board has placed such value on the transformative impact of the work our faculty are doing and have dedicated these critical funds -- which will allow us to further support our best faculty already and attract promising newcomers."

Faculty Today is already proving successful. The program is being applied to several recently established funds supporting endowed faculty positions. Among them:

  • The David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management Endowed Fund will enable the College of Human Ecology's Department of Sport Management to support a faculty member specializing in sport business or sport law. The professorship was endowed by renowned sports agent David B. Falk '72 and his wife, Rhonda Falk '74, in conjunction with the establishment of the University's David B. Falk Center for Sport Management.

  • The Abdallah H. Yabroudi Endowed Professorship will allow the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science to recruit a faculty member to specialize in civil infrastructure, with an emphasis on international engineering in the developing world. The professorship was established by Abdallah Yabroudi '78, G'79, chairman of the internationally known Dubai Contracting Co. in the United Arab Emirates.

"A gift to endow a faculty position is extremely powerful," says Diane Lyden Murphy, dean of the College of Human Ecology. "Generous support from donors like the Falks enables us to engage the kind of educators who are magnets not only for the best students but for other top-ranked faculty. Having the value of their gifts multiplied by Faculty Today allows us to fill these faculty positions that much faster."

Through The Campaign for Syracuse University, SU seeks to raise a total of $300 million in support of faculty excellence. Other priorities of the $1 billion campaign -- the largest fundraising effort in the University's history -- include student access and support, interdisciplinary programs, capital projects and annual support.

"The campaign launched publicly in November 2007, and we are nearly 60 percent of the way to our goal, with over $580 million raised to date," says Brian Sischo, associate vice president of development and campaign director. "The Faculty Today program is a tremendous opportunity for donors to maximize the impact of their gift to The Campaign for Syracuse University and, at the same time, help us increase SU's overall endowment."

By driving Scholarship in Action further ahead, the campaign will support the University's ongoing mission to provide students, faculty and communities with the insights needed to incite positive and lasting change in the world. More information is available online at

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