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By MORGAN TARPLEY mlt017@latech



Tech has received a check to complete funding for $1.1 million in new endowed professorships. The professorships are funded in part by university donors and in part by the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund.

The official check presentation took place at 3 p.m. Sept. 26 in Wyly Tower of Learning and was presided over by Joe Savoie, state commissioner of higher education.

Tech President Dan Reneau said he, along with other Tech officials, is extremely grateful for the contributions to the endowed professorship program and has seen how the professorships are making a difference in the university.

“The professorships are making a difference in attracting fine faculty and keeping fine faculty,” Reneau said.

“This check brings us to a total of 122 endowed professorships, about 10 eminent scholar [million dollar] chairs and $25 to $30 million endowments, which each year, the interest comes into this university.”

Savoie said a dependence on the results of state university graduates are factors in how Louisiana can improve.

“We can’t become a better state unless we depend on our universities to provide the intellectual capital, the guidance and the mental and intellectual infrastructure that we’re going to need to be a better state,” Savoie said.

“These endowments really get to the heart of that task, because great universities are built on great faculty, and in order for Louisiana to keep great faculty and to attract great faculty we need to be competitive in how we compensate and allow them to grow and improve.”

Savoie also said with higher education, the state has some constitutional mandates on how its money is spent; one of the ways is to match the private donations to universities.

“The Board of Regents Support fund originated with $500 million and is now right at $1 billion in value,” Savoie said.

“The fund has spent off about $800 million in interest to go to supporting the education of our state and has created opportunities across the state for institutions to make terrific advances.”

Eddie Barnes, founder of the John Ed Barnes Endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurship, in memory of his father, said he and the Barnes family thought it would be a great way to honor their loved one and help out Tech at the same time.

“We have a lot of Tech [history] all the way through our family, because a majority of our family has attended Tech and still has ties here today,” Barnes said.

“We hope through this professorship to enable Tech to continue hiring high quality professors and keeping them at Tech to produce still higher quality students.”

Shirley Reagan, dean of the College of Administration and Business, said the CAB has three professorships which are being matched.

She is especially grateful and appreciative for the program, donors and for the entrepreneurship professorship.

“To have a professorship in entrepreneurship is really exciting for the CAB because it is one of the directions we are focusing on in our college,” Reagan said.

“It will give us an opportunity to support a faculty member in that area, which we’ve not been able to do through a professorship before.”

Katie Nelson, a junior family and child studies major, said she believes these donations and new professorships prove Tech is of high caliber.

“We should be very grateful to donors and the state for giving this opportunity to teachers,” Nelson said.

“It allows the school to explore new opportunities which have not been previously reachable.”

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