The Fred C. Koch Foundation in Wichita today announced the donation of more than $1.5 million to Kansas University to establish a distinguished professorship in law and economics.
The gift honors Mary Robinson Koch's grandfather, David Hamilton Robinson, who was one of KU's three original tenured faculty members. He taught at KU from 1866 until his death in 1895.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig said the professorship will be filled by a scholar in the field of economics and law. The professor will hold appointments in the schools of law and business.
"This generous gift will enable us to enrich educational opportunities for our students and to enhance the interchange between" the two schools, said Joseph Bauman, KU business dean.
BOB JERRY, dean of the law school, said the financial assistance made available by the foundation will greatly enhance KU's reputation and presence in the fields of law and economics.
"The gift demonstrates in a most profound way Koch's commitment to helping us provide a high-quality academic environment that prepares lawyers to counsel and assist American businesses," he said.
Del Brinkman, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the gift might be used to appoint a one-year visiting professor or if the right person could be hired a permanent professor.
Mary Koch, a director of the foundation and wife of the late Fred Koch, said her grandfather taught Latin and Greek when he came to the university when it opened nearly 125 years ago.
However, she said, "I wanted the chair to be in law and economics, fields in which my husband had a great deal of interest when he was active in business."
DURING his tenure at KU, Robinson served as secretary of the faculty. He also was dean of the School of Arts, the forerunner of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Koch foundation has a history of support for education. Since its establishment in 1954, the foundation has provided scholarship assistance to students.
The foundation recently focused its financial support on cultural organizations, college scholarships and groups working with the handicapped, primarily in Wichita.
The gift will be added to Campaign Kansas, the $177 million fund drive that is being directed by the KU Endowment Association. KUEA has netted about $170 million in three years.
FRED KOCH, the namesake of the foundation, was founder of the company that has grown into Koch Industries in Wichita. He died in 1967, said George Pearson, foundation president.
Koch Industries is an energy company with interests in chemical and petroleum products. Koch Foundation is financed by the family and has no relationship with Koch Industries.