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Summer 2003
Chairs of Distinction
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By Roberta G. Wax
Photography by Jan Sonnenmair

EVER SINCE THE FIRST ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIP was established 500 years ago at Oxford, privately funded “chairs” have been essential tools for helping universities to reach the peak of accomplishment and prestige.

As a perpetual source of funding to support the work of selected faculty members, chairs are a critical infusion to the life’s blood of the institution. Both a reward to an established professor for excellence in research and teaching and an inducement to younger rising stars to join the school’s ranks, they are an essential incentive that enables UCLA to compete on a more equal footing with other top-tier institutions. Especially those with abundant private support.

UCLA currently boasts 189 endowed chairs in a wide range of academic disciplines, from medicine and economics to philosophy and music. And more may be on the horizon. A task force created by Chancellor Albert Carnesale to examine how UCLA can maintain its competitiveness in an era of shrinking budgets has recommended that the university launch a “bold new initiative to support its academic core as its highest post-Campaign development priority” by, among other measures, raising funds to create additional new endowed chairs.


2005 The Regents of the University of California