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In This Issue

       

First endowed faculty chair among milestones celebrated by WSU Foundation in its 50th year

Photo of Stan Longhofer, Center for Real Estate, WSU
Stan Longhofer, WSU professor and Stephen L. Clark Chair in Real Estate and Finance in front of Clinton Hall.

One of the highest marks of academic distinction for a university is having a strong representation of endowed chairs and professorships in its faculty ranks. These esteemed positions help recruit top faculty members as well as bright students who want to study with them.

Professorships and Chairs at WSU
A breakdown of the 36 endowed professorships and chairs, by academic or research area

10 – W. Frank Barton School of Business
10 – 
Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
6 – College of Engineering
3 – College of Fine Arts
3 – College of Health Professions
2 – General
1 – National Institute for Aviation Research
1 – Research Administration
0 – College of Education
36 – Total

Since its founding 50 years ago, the WSU Foundation has helped to establish a total of 36 chairs and professorships spread over seven academic areas.

The establishment of the first chair, in 1986, was just one of many milestones in the five-decade history of the Foundation, founded in 1965 as the WSU Endowment Association. The name change came in 2000.

That first chair was somewhat unusual because it came in a program that was only a few years old — real estate and land use economics.

“The program was founded in the late 1970s when funds were being raised to create the Kansas Chair in Real Estate and Land Use Economics,” says Stanley Longhofer, who holds the position today. “WSU actually has one of the oldest university real estate programs in the country, but at that time, it was new.”

Two highly regarded real estate developers, John T. Arnold and Stephen Clark, were instrumental in helping to raise the money to create the chair and the program. The chair eventually was named the Stephen L. Clark Chair in Real Estate and Finance because of Clark’s financial support. That support includes a deferred gift that is intended to be used for research.

“We wanted it be a prestigious real estate program that could attract a talented person to lead it and contribute to the research and knowledge of real estate,” says Clark, a 1965 graduate of Wichita State who also has created a scholarship in real estate. “The field of real estate has grown much more sophisticated and complex since the 1970s, so this has been a useful and beneficial investment.”

Photo of real estate mogul Steve Clark
Steve Clark established the first chair at WSU.

Longhofer, a 1989 graduate of Wichita State in economics, accepted the chair in 1999 after a five-year stint as an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland. One of the first things he did at Wichita State was to found the Center for Real Estate to serve as a bridge between academic programs and the professional world.

“Since its inception, the real estate program has worked to maintain close connections between industry and the university,” Longhofer says. “The endowment for the Stephen L. Clark Chair helps provide direct support for these activities.”

Contributions for endowed chairs and professorships are more than just a goodwill gesture to WSU, Longhofer says. “They represent a direct investment in Wichita’s economic and cultural development, helping to ensure it will be a dynamic and vibrant place to live and work for years to come.”

A top priority for the WSU Foundation is to double the number of endowed chairs and professorships at Wichita State. The most recent endowment came in 2014 when the Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation pledged $2.5 million to establish the Sam Bloomfield Chair in Engineering Innovation. Yet another milestone for the Foundation as it works to advance the university’s mission and vision.

 

A Golden Anniversary

 

This year, the WSU Foundation marks the 50th anniversary of its founding. We will share highlights of our journey in each issue of Horizon this year. If you have a memory, story or observation involving the WSU Foundation, please share it by contacting Belinda Venters, WSU Foundation director of communications, at 319-978-5624 or belinda.venters@wichita.edu.