UND honors newest group of endowed faculty
At Faculty Investiture Ceremony, the University recognizes 10 outstanding faculty and thanks the donors who endowed the positions
In a ceremony with roots that date back nearly a thousand years, 10 UND faculty members were celebrated on Aug. 23 for being named to endowed positions, one of academia’s highest honors.
Some 75 people attended the UND Faculty Investiture Ceremony & Celebration, which was held at the Gorecki Alumni Center on campus. Several of the guests were the donors who had endowed the positions. Many others were previously endowed faculty members, who wore – as did the 10 newly endowed scholars – their academic regalia: colorful caps, gowns and hoods whose lineage can be traced to the long robes worn by scholars in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Investiture has a long history. Investiture comes from the Latin words for “dress in robes,” and like the knighthood rituals it’s modeled after, the ceremony is meant to confer the authority and symbols of high office.
In this case, the 10 UND scholars were formally “invested” in their endowed fellowships, professorships or chairs. The group represents the endowed positions created over the past year. They bring UND’s total of such positions to 59; and the goal, said the lineup of distinguished speakers at the event, is for the University to reach 100.
“This is where the magic happens at a University,” said Eric Link, provost and vice president for academic affairs, in his remarks at the ceremony.
“An endowed position is one of the highest academic honors that the University can bestow on a faculty member. And the endowment itself is a legacy, for it will last as long as the University exists.
“It is an honor to the named holder of the position, as well as an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes the endowment,” Link continued. “I’m incredibly proud of the exceptional faculty at UND, and our endowed position holders are a testament to UND’s commitment to excellence.”
Hallmarks of a great university
Endowed positions make an extraordinary difference at UND, said Randi Tanglen, UND’s vice provost for faculty affairs, in her remarks.
“First, they attract and retain outstanding research and teaching faculty here at UND,” she said. The scholar’s position is supplemented by a donor’s permanent endowment. That means the faculty member not only attains a position of great respect and trust, but also is able to access funding to support and enhance their teaching, service and research.
Moreover, by supplementing state and other funding, the endowments help UND keep a low student-to-faculty ratio – one of the hallmarks of a great university.
Second, “endowed faculty positions also draw top-notch students to campus – students who want to work with the leading scholars in their fields,” Tanglen said.
And third, “these endowed positions also expand the university’s profile and participation across many networks.”
That means not only academic but also alumni networks, as well as those of other potential donors, said Paul Korus, a donor of an endowed UND professorship, holder of two degrees from the University, retired oil-and-gas executive and current board member of Chord Energy.
For as Provost Link mentioned, an endowed position carries great meaning for both the faculty member and the donor, said Korus, one of the featured speakers at the event. This helps cement the bond between the University, its loyal supporters and its best teachers and researchers.
“I’m honored to be here on behalf of fellow believers who have discovered the importance of investing in faculty,” Korus said.
And as the word has spread about UND’s success, more and more donors are taking note. In recent years, owing in part to this growing interest on the part of alumni, corporations and other friends of the University, “we’ve added dozens of new endowed positions,” Korus said.
The result is a virtuous circle, one in which “we continue to pursue becoming a preeminent research university that recruits and retains even more passionate, research-driven faculty, who in turn can attract greater funding.”
The University’s thanks
For its part, UND is exceptionally grateful to donors for the role they’re playing in that process, said DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.
“Thank you for having the passion and the foresight to support these instructors, who have made outstanding contributions to their field, their colleges, their departments and especially their students,” Carlson Zink said.
“As a University, we would not be where we are today without you providing the financial resources for these faculty stars to shine.”
Speaking on behalf of UND’s endowed faculty, Frank Bowman, the Thomas C. Owens Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering at UND, added his own words of thanks.
“You know, I find that professors are like everyone else in the world,” Bowman said. “Most of us have insecurities about our abilities. We might have different ways of hiding it, but everyone I’ve met has some of those insecurities.”
So, being named to an endowed chair “is a vote of confidence in our abilities and potential,” Bowman continued. “It’s a recurring reminder that our work is valued, and it’s a motivation to continue striving for excellence with the confidence that what we’re doing, matters.”
Then there’s the fact that the endowments also come with funding “that enable us as faculty to do more than we would normally be able to do,” Bowman said.
Add it all up, and you get a profound sense of gratitude on the endowed faculty’s part: “On behalf of all those affected, I want to again thank the many people who have made these endowments possible,” he said.
Newly endowed faculty
The 10 faculty members who were invested in their endowed positions at the ceremony are:
Oliver L. Benediktson Endowed Chair in Astrophysics
Funded by Oliver Benediktson
Bard and Nicki Baukol History Fellow
Funded by Bard and Nicki Baukol
Aarestad Endowed Chair
Funded by a UND endowment
Korus Economics & Finance Endowed Professor
Funded by Paul Korus
Yanjun (Frank) Zuo
Dr. Mark Langemo Faculty Fellow
Funded by Cindy and Greg Page
Funded by Ruth Maurine Clow
Renuka de Silva
Hopper Danley Faculty Fellow
Funded by the Elnora (Hopper) Danley Estate
Harold L. and Io A. Severson Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship
Funded by Terry and Diane Severson
Mark and Claudia Thompson National Security Faculty Fellow
Funded by Mark and Claudia Thompson
Terry and Diane Severson Endowed Professor of National Security
Funded by Terry and Diane Severson