(October 28, 2008)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Regents Award More Than $1 Million For Endowed Professorships

Board of Regents
People in photo (L-R)
Bill Atkins, Will Atkins, Ed Crawford, Laura Crawford, Dr. Sally Clausen, Dr. Ken Schwab, Dr. Anne Dobie, C. Walter Dobie

Dr. Clausen speaks (4M)

SHREVEPORT, La. — Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Sally Clausen made a visit to Centenary Thursday, Oct. 23 to present a ceremonial check to the College for the endowed professorships approved earlier this year.

The check was the state's portion of matching funds in the amount of $1,040,000 to fund 26 new endowed professorships which allow higher education institutions to recruit highly sought after scholars and research faculty both locally and from across the country.

To create endowed professorships, colleges must raise 60 percent of the cost from private sources. For endowed professorship, $60,000 comes from private donations leading to a Board of Regents match of $40,000 for each professorship. In Centenary's case, $1.8 million was donated to the College for the professorships.

"The families involved in making this possible represent the very best in what higher education has to offer its future and its students," said Dr. Clausen to a group of College staff and faculty, donors and Board members. "They are doing so because they have confidence in the leadership of the college, and confidence in what Centenary means to the state of Louisiana and to the country."

Echoing Dr. Clausen's comments, Dr. Ken Schwab, President of the College, said that as a community, we celebrate their investment in education. "Today we celebrate the establishment of these new professorships and are grateful for the gifts that these families have given in support of the College," said Dr. Schwab. "Of the 32 professorships we proposed, 26 were matched. When we get these last six approved, we will have 99 endowed professorships and seek the 100th which is appropriate since we are celebrating our centennial this year."

During the presentation, Dr. Schwab introduced the families that made the professorships possible. The Centenary College Centennial Visiting Endowed Professorship in Religious Studies was a gift from Dr. Bobby J. and Bettie Fox Hollingsworth '49. Although unable to attend, a special plaque of recognition was presented to them Oct. 5 in Houston.

Next to receive recognition was Dr. Anne and C. Walter Dobie from Lafayette, La. She was a professor of English at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and founder of the National Writing Project of Acadiana; he is a 1954 graduate of the College, member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the College Relations Committee. Together they formed the Dr. Anne Brewster Dobie and C. Walter Dobie Endowed Professor in English.

"What a pleasure it is to be here today," said Dr. Dobie. "It is also an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of this great group of people and the ongoing success of a college that I think Louisiana needs ... there is nothing like Centenary in the whole state."

The largest contribution came from the Atkins and Crawford families of Shreveport. Longtime supporters of the College, the families donated the original 40-acre tract of land for the development of the new campus in Shreveport in 1903. "Our relationship with both the Atkins and Crawford families span more than 100 years and we are grateful for the support they have provided the College," said Dr. Schwab. "This gift represents 24 of the 30 proposed endowed professorships by the Atkins/Crawford family that supports the Frost School of Business. We are confident that the final six will get matched next year by the Board of Regents."

Between the two families, 24 endowed professorships were created, including 10 Atkins Family Centennial Endowed Professorships; 10 Crawford Family Centennial Endowed Professorships; and four John W. Atkins Centennial Endowed Professorships.

On hand representing the Crawford family was Ed and Laura Crawford. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Executive Committee and is a 2002 honorary alum; she is the Director of the Suzuki Violin School and Lecturer in Music at the College.

Representing the Atkins family was Bill Atkins, and his son Will. "When my grandfather and some of his relatives gave the land to the College, he also pledged to raise enough money to build the first two buildings, which he did," said Bill Atkins. "He instilled in my father to support Centenary, my father instilled it in me, and I've instilled it in my children. It has been a great partnership for a very long time."

The gathering ended with a ceremonial presentation of the Board of Regents matching check, while family members, Dr. Clausen and Dr. Schwab exchanged hand shakes and smiles.

"This is the ceremonial moment where we pass off a picture of a global moment to say thank you from our Board members," said Dr. Clausen. "We are here today to celebrate the investment in education as we try to make the connection between education and our future. I celebrate with you and cherish with you for what you are doing for future students...some of whom you will never meet, and for the changes in their lives that this will provide."

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrates 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.