Support Faculty and Their Research

An endowed chair or professorship is a faculty position supported by an endowment in perpetuity. The fund's annual distribution supports the salary of the faculty member and, in some cases, provides other scholarly expenses related to his or her teaching and research. The annual distribution also may be used to purchase equipment or fund graduate student assistance for the professor.

Nationwide, endowed faculty appointments are recognized as positions of respect held by teachers, scholars and researchers of exceptional achievement and promise.

There are three opportunities to support outstanding faculty members at OU:

  • Endowed Chair - $1,000,000
  • Endowed Professorship - $500,000
  • Endowed Presidential Professorship - $250,000

The numbers to the right attest to the strength of the University's endowed faculty program. This notable success can be partly attributed to the popular matching program with the State Regents for Higher Education.

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Matching Program

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 of $250,000 and above for endowed faculty positions.

Since that time, the State Regents have provided over $260 million in matching dollars for OU donors' private gifts.

After an endowed gift to the University of Oklahoma Foundation has been matched by the State Regents, the original endowment fund and subsequent returns continue to be invested and managed by the Foundation, while the matching portion is independently invested and managed by the State Regents.

Since June 30, 2008, the State Regents have committed to match new gifts made for endowed faculty positions 1:1 up to $250,000 and 1:4 beyond that amount.

Endowment Minimums and State Regents Match Amounts

Position Type

Endowment Minimum

State Regents Match

Chair $1 million + (estimated annual distribution = $50,000) $250,000 (1:1) + $187,500 (1:4) = $437,500
Professorship $500,000 (estimated annual distribution = $25,000) $250,000 (1:1) + $62,500 (1:4) = $312,500
Presidential Professorship $250,000 (estimated annual distribution = $12,500) $250,000 (1:1)

Endowed Chairs

Funded with a gift of $1 million or more, endowed chairs are the most prestigious faculty appointments and are awarded to faculty members whose national reputations elevate the prominence of programs and whose experience and expertise make exceptional contributions to teaching, research, and public service.

Endowed Professorships

Funded with a gift of $500,000, endowed professorships are awarded to help recruit or retain promising young faculty poised to create new programs or to take existing programs to new levels. They are often master teachers who encourage and develop outstanding students. Both chairs and professorships help OU to secure academic magnets who attract other scholars and researchers and bring in crucial external support.

Presidential Professorships

When President Boren came to the University of Oklahoma in 1994, faculty excellence was a priority concern. The Presidential Professorship program is one of President Boren’s cornerstone initiatives to recognize and reward top faculty members.

This program has made a real difference in faculty morale and compensation because it rewards merit. Professors are nominated for these awards and selected by a committee of faculty, administrators and alumni for four-year appointments.

More Information?

Contact a college development officer.

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Endowed Faculty Positions - By the Numbers

"Each of us remembers the voice of that special teacher who touched our lives. Each of us remembers the discussions that they stimulated beyond the classroom."

David L. Boren

13th president of the University of Oklahoma, 1994-present


Number of privately endowed faculty positions at OU since the Merrick Chair was established in 1974


Percent of all OU endowed faculty positions that have been established during President Boren's tenure


Number of OU endowed faculty funds that have been matched by the State Regents Endowment program since 1988


Amount in millions invested by the Foundation and the State Regents for Higher Education to support OU endowed faculty positions in perpetuity.