Endowed Chairs and Professorships Stewardship Protocol

Last Updated: April 8, 2016


An important responsibility of Endowed Professorship or Chair holder is ongoing and meaningful communication with and stewardship of the donor. This activity requires a partnership with both the Dean and the advancement staff, and includes four essential expectations: writing a personal thank you letter to the donor; informing donors about news regarding endowed faculty member and their programs and achievements on a regular basis, and submitting an annual impact report, and attendance at stewardship events.

Expectations of Holders of Endowed Chairs/Professorships

Expectations of Chair/Professorship holders may vary depending on the original gift agreement, the donor or donors survivorship, and details specific to the particular endowed account. Expectations and donor contact information will be provided in the award letter.

  1. If appropriate, upon appointment to a Chair of Professorship, the holder will write a letter of introduction that gives biographical information, information on intended uses of the endowment proceeds, and expressions of appreciation for the support. A copy of the letter will also be provided to the College Communications Manager.
  2. Subsequently, the holder will send personal letters of appreciation, at least once per year to the donor that outline the impact of the gift, and details of the holders activities. Copies of these letters will also be provided to the College Communications Manager.
  3. The holder will send donor(s) articles of interest regarding the holder’s activities and awards, and/or recent publications on a regular basis. Copies of this correspondence will also be provided to the College Communications Manager.
  4. The holder of an endowed chair or professorship will submit an “impact report” annually to the Dean. The report is due 30 days prior to the date when endowment proceeds are dispensed to the holder. Typically, the due date would be December 15. Guidelines for the contents of the report are outlined in Appendix A.
  5. The holder will attend (and the donor is invited to attend) the annual Chairs & Professorships stewardship event and other such events as appropriate.
  6. The holder will use the endowment title consistently in letterhead, business cards, publications, and directories including the endowment name with faculty title. See example below:

    Kenneth Bowman
    Professor, Atmospheric Sciences
    David Bullock Harris Professor of Geosciences


When a faculty member is newly name to an endowed chair or professorship, the dean will send the donor a letter announcing the decision that includes a brief bio of the holder, description of his or her area of specialty and the duration of the appointment.

Each year, the Dean hosts a dinner or reception to recognize all of the endowment donors and to honor the chair and professorship holders. New donors, as well as new chair and professorship holders will be recognized during the event.

A plaque will be presented to the new chair or professorship holder commemorating the appointment.

APPENDIX A: Guidelines for Stewardship Reports and Letters

Impact Report

The purpose of the annual impact report is to create a record of how proceeds from the donors’ gifts are being used to promote excellence in teaching, research, and service on the part of outstanding faculty members. The reports will be used as key sources of information about holders’ accomplishments in order to aid the advancement staff in enhancing the overall profile of the College and in raising new funds. In preparing content for a 2-3 page annual report, holders should take the following questions into account:

  • How has this gift had an impact on your work?
  • What research or other work did proceeds of the chair or professorship make possible this year?
  • In what capacity or outcome were students (graduate or undergraduate) engaged or the beneficiary of your proceeds? Describe the support of students or impact on the students in a service or outreach initiative.
  • How did the results compare to your objectives and/or expectations?
  • Are there specific measurements of success this year, such as data, results, publications, awards, students’ receipt of degrees, etc.
  • Were you able to leverage the proceeds from the endowment in anyway? For example, did initial research supported by the endowment make it possible to secure additional resources from a funding agency?
  • What activities are planned in the coming year with the help of the professorship or chair?
  • Do you have plans that include student engagement? If so, how and what are the goals for your student engagement?
  • If applicable, include photos or diagrams to illustrate your work. In preparing your responses, you may want to:
  • Use a layperson’s language to the extent possible.
  • Recall that endowments are intended to fund compensation, research, or professional activity costs (such as student assistants, supplies, and equipment) and other activities that contribute to productivity.

Sample First Contact Letter to Donor

Dear [Name Redacted],

I want to take this opportunity to thank you both for the support you are providing me through your generous donation of the David Bullock Harris Professorship. I have been a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Texas A&M for 15 years, spending the last 5 as Chair. During that time I have been fortunate enough to build an intellectual enterprise supported by nearly equal components of research, teaching, and service.

My research activities have helped forge new understandings of mid-latitude winter storms, tropical/extratropical interaction, as well as the forecasting of heavy snowfalls. Inspired by some of the material I present in class, my research has also closed some theoretical holes regarding the nature of vertical motions in the mid-latitude atmosphere, the very motions that are responsible for cloud and precipitation production.

The teaching dimension of my scholarly life has been rich with the satisfaction of watching eager minds become more captivated by, and skilled at, pursuing understanding of nature. My efforts have been recognized by students (via evaluations), by colleagues, (through appointment to the Texas A&M Teaching Academy), by the College of Geosciences (through being given a Dean’s Distinguished Achievement Award), and by NOAA (by winning the Walter B. Jones Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award).

The University makes available a wide array of service opportunities for its scholars. I have enjoyed by 10-plus years (the last Monday of the month!) on KAMU radio as one of the “Weather Guys” - fielding callers’ questions about weather and climate. I have enjoyed delivering the keynote address to incoming freshman and their parents at GeosFest each summer. I have enjoyed meeting our finest students as President of the TAMSCAM student organization.

It is particularly gratifying, as one who has spent his entire professional life at Texas A&M and has been loyal to this great University, to be recognized as a recipient of your generosity. This award will afford me the opportunity to pursue research and teaching paths that existing fiscal constraints, at both the state and federal level, might otherwise preclude me from pursuing. I am tremendously grateful to you both for this extraordinary support of my scholarly activities. I look forward to seeing you in May at the Chairs & Professorships Celebration.

With sincere thanks, [Name Redacted]

Sample Annual Impact & Appreciation Letter

Dear ____________:

It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to share with you some recent highlights of my activities over the past year. As the holder of the NAME OF THE ENDOWED POSITION, I am grateful for the support you have provided and the ways your gift furthers my teaching and research activities.

With the help of the NAME OF THE ENDOWED POSITION, I am pursuing research in (definition in lay terms). One of my primary areas of interest is to better understand (description of the problem, why is this relevant?).

By establishing this professorship, you have helped support a number of inquiries/results this year, including:

  1. Topic one and short explanation.
  2. Topic two and short explanation.
  3. Topic three and short explanation.

With the initial studies that your professorship has helped fund, my colleagues and I were able to successfully compete for funding from the NAME OF GRANT or FUNDING SOURCE. This additional funding will provide extraordinary experiences and discovery opportunities for me and my students.

The NAME OF THE ENDOWED POSITION has also help me support two undergraduates to conduct research with me and attend a national meeting to present their research. I am especially proud to tell you than both of them will be entering graduate programs at Prestigious University next fall.

We look forward to the following activities over the coming year:

(Summarize upcoming projects)

I am proud of the work that my students and I have accomplished over the past year and thank you for your role in making it possible. Geosciences faculty advance discoveries annually that provide solutions to some of our world’s greatest challenges and we proudly prepare the geoscientist leaders of the future. I am grateful to be part of the success.

Sincerely, Name