Donation funds chair in School of Undergraduate Studies

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A 1.5 million dollar bequest from alumni Tom and Jeanie Carter will be used to fund the first endowed chair of the School of Undergraduate Studies.

The funds will create the Thomas L. and Eugenia G. Carter Chair in Undergraduate Studies, which is to be held by the dean of the school. It is the first pledge towards a chair in the School of Undergraduate Studies and will go into effect when the Carters’ will is executed. The School of Undergraduate Studies was established in 2008 and is the most recent institution to be elevated to college-level status, according to the school’s website. The Carters’ gift will allow the school to properly finance a position for a highly qualified faculty member, said School of Undergraduate Studies director Lara Harlan.

“Just like any other endowed chair, it provides funding for a top-notch faculty person to have a position secured,” Harlan said. “It will always be here to make sure that there is money and robust coverage for a full professor to serve as the dean of the school.”

Harlan said the gift was intended specifically for the School of Undergraduate Studies because of its particular importance to President William Powers Jr, who led the Task Force on curricular reform which ultimately established the school.

“Tom Carter attended UT and I think he wanted to support faculty and people as opposed to bricks and mortar,” Harlan said. “He was working with President Powers on determining the best way to support UT faculty and support President Powers’ priorities. One of those priorities is making sure that the School of Undergraduate Studies is healthy and able to continue doing the things we need to do.”

Philosophy and classics professor Paul Woodruff is the school’s inaugural and current dean and holds the Darrell K Royal Regents Professorship in Ethics and American Society. Woodruff said students in the School of Undergraduate Studies will benefit from being able to fund a secure position for a distinguished faculty member.

“It will be an enormous benefit [to students],” Woodruff said. “Most of the deans at this University have chairs that are endowed in amounts like this that essentially give the dean an excellence fund and allow them to do whatever they need to do for the excellence of the college itself. This will be an enormous help in the distant future for whoever holds the position that I currently hold.”

A chair is the most prestigious level of endowment on UT campus and brings renown to the University, said Julie Hooper, executive director for development in the University Development Office.

“I think that an endowed chair is a significant investment in leadership, and I think it’s important for a dean to have an endowed chair,” Hooper said. “We are extremely grateful for this gift.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 as: Donation will fund UGS chair position