Contact:  Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120
or John Kemp, Louisiana Board of Regents, 504-342-4253

Regents Complete $3 Million in Funding for 2 Eminent Scholars Chairs and 10 Endowed Professorships at Centenary College

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Members of the Centenary College community gathered today (Wednesday, Aug. 15) to hear Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Louisiana commissioner of higher education, announce the completion of $3 million in funding for two Eminent Scholars Chairs and ten Endowed Professorships for the college. 

The 4 p.m. ceremony in Centenary's Kilpatrick Auditorium marked the completion of a local and state funding effort which matches privately raised gifts with the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund on a 60:40 basis. 

Centenary President Kenneth L. Schwab and Dr. Savoie jointly announced the formal completion of the Bill and Sarah James Eminent Scholars Chair in Psychology, the Albert Sklar Eminent Scholars Chair in Chemistry and ten Douglas and Marion Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture.

The Attaway Professorships honor the late Douglas and Marion Attaway, who were both active in civic and community affairs.  Douglas Attaway, a publisher and newspaperman, was a longtime member of the Centenary Board of Trustees and once co-chaired the Great Teachers and Scholars Fund.  

"He was interested in bringing distinguished visitors and lecturers to campus and, in the process, making the city of Shreveport a better place to live," Schwab said. Schwab said that the Attaway professorships will enable Centenary to bring to campus individuals of national prestige, who are notable for their roles in public intellectual life.

Representing the Attaway family Wednesday were Susan Attaway, Amy Leuther,  Wes Attaway and Dr. Sonya Wisdom Attaway.

The James Chair is named in memory of Bill and Sarah James of Ruston, La., prominent business, civic and cultural leaders in North Louisiana.  Bill James, the son of T.L. James, was a 1929 graduate of Centenary and a second-generation, longtime member of the Board of Trustees.  He was one of the first inductees of the Centenary Alumni Hall of Fame.

About the Jameses, Dr. Schwab said, "They were strong proponents of a value-centered education that would prepare students to face the challenges of tomorrow.  They were both dedicated to stewardship and the support of our heritage."

Representing the James family were LaVaga James, Bill James Jr., Tommy James, David James, Mark James and Bob James.

The Sklar Chair honors the memory of Albert Sklar, Shreveport business and community leader.  He was a member of the Centenary Board of Trustees from 1964 until his death in 1996.  He was awarded Centenary's Honorary Alumnus designation in 1978.  

"Albert's name will live on in perpetuity and his longtime interest in higher education will be honored as well -- as generations of Sklar Chair holders pass their knowledge on to generations of future scientists," Schwab said.

Representing the Sklar family and company during the ceremony were Mr. and Mrs. Howard Sklar, Betty LaCour and Todd Gates.  Miriam Sklar, a member of the Centenary Board of Trustees, was out of state and unable to attend.

Schwab praised Gov. Mike Foster, the Louisiana Legislature, the Board of Regents and the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities for making higher education a priority. "Support of higher education in Louisiana continues to be critical to our state's future," he said.  "Once again, higher education has been recognized as important in our state." 

He noted that Centenary now has a total of 40 professorships endowed at $100,000 each, 11 Eminent Scholars chairs endowed at $1 million each, and one Eminent Scholars chair endowed with $2 million. Another eight endowed chairs at the College were funded prior to or separate from the Support Fund. 

Participants in Tuesday's presentation also included representatives of the Board of Regents, the area Legislative delegation, and the Centenary administration, faculty, staff and student body.

The endowed chair and professorship programs are part of the Regents' innovative Support Fund, which began as a permanent trust fund approved by the voters of Louisiana in a 1986 constitutional amendment. By 2001, the trust fund had risen to over $921 million. The funds were part of a settlement between the state and federal governments over offshore oil and gas revenue. 

Each year the Legislature appropriates half the interest from the fund to the Board of Regents, the policy-making and coordinating agency for all higher education in Louisiana. The other half goes to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for grades K-12. 

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