Outstanding faculty members are critical to support the academic mission and research activity that takes place at the University of Oklahoma. Endowed faculty appointments are recognized as positions of respect held by teachers, scholars and researchers of exceptional achievement and promise. Thanks to the generous investment of OU donors and the resources committed by the State of Oklahoma, more than 560 endowed chairs and professorships exist at OU today.
In 1988, the Oklahoma Legislature established and funded an innovative program through the State Regents for Higher Education to attract talent and innovation to the state’s colleges and universities by matching private gifts for endowed faculty positions. Over the past 33 years, the State Regents have provided over $328 million in matching dollars for OU donors’ private gifts.
In May 2020, the Oklahoma legislature passed bills for a bond issuance that would fulfill the state’s obligation to match private donations that have been in line for matching dollars. This most recent round of matching is also the last, putting an end to an extraordinary program that has attracted talented teachers and researchers who have contributed to the cultural, business, scientific or economic development of the state.
In November 2021, OU received over $60 million in matching dollars, $1.1 million of which was directed to the Gibbs College of Architecture to establish complimentary state endowments for the Haskell and Irene Lemon Chair in Construction Science Leadership, the Harold W. Conner Professorship of Construction Science, the Construction Science Board of Visitors Professorship, the Wick Cary Professorship for the Director at the Institute for Quality Communities and the Farzaneh Family Endowed Presidential Professorship in Iranian Architecture.
Shane Hampton, the director of the Gibbs College Institute of Quality Communities (IQC) says, “These new funds will enable the IQC team to build on our work to enrich student learning with real-world experiences, while delivering useful services to Oklahoma towns and cities – Especially those communities that have had limited access to professional community engagement, planning, and design services.”
Perhaps fittingly, the earliest established position to benefit from the state match program is the Bruce Alonzo Goff Chair in Creative Architecture – named in honor of the innovative educator and acclaimed architect who, along with Herb Greene and others, developed the American School at the University of Oklahoma during the 1950s and ‘60s.
In all, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has matched 11 positions in Gibbs College with more than $3.28 million. Last year, Gibbs College faculty endowments at the State Regents and at the OU Foundation totaled over $12 million, generating annual distributions that totaled $540,000.
Dr. Khosrow Bozorgi, the Farzaneh Family Presidential Professor of Persian Architecture and director of Center for Middle Eastern Architecture and Culture says, “The increased endowment of my Farzaneh Family Endowed Professorship will positively affect my research through a convergent, academic stance concerning architecture and its constituent cultural and technological makeup, ultimately providing an opportunity for dialogue supporting the greater good of all professional and academic involvement.”
Gibbs College professorships that benefited from this year’s matching dollars include:
- Haskell and Irene Lemon Chair in Construction Science Leadership
- Farzaneh Family Endowed Presidential Professorship in Iranian Architecture
- A. Blaine Imel, Jr. Professorship of Architecture
- Construction Science Board of Visitor’s Professorship
- Wick Cary Professorship for the Director of the Institute for Quality Communities
- H. Russell Pitman Professorship of Architecture
Gibbs College professorships that benefited from matching dollars in previous years include:
- Bruce Alonzo Goff Chair in Creative Architecture
- Harold W. Conner Professorship of Construction Science
- Robert E. Busch Professorship of Construction Science
- W. Edwin Bryan, Jr. Professorship of Architecture
- Wick Cary Professorship for the Institute for Quality Communities