The newly created position will be filled on a rotating basis beginning in the fall of 1996
The first endowed chair for a faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University will be named for Archie Hawkins, a long-time Haskell supporter from Lawrence, and for his late wife, Mollie Hawkins.
The private Haskell Foundation, which raises donations to support Haskell, hopes to collect $500,000 for the Archie and Mollie Hawkins Endowment for a Distinguished Chair in American Indian Studies, a new position.
Hawkins, a retired Haskell instructor and secretary of the Haskell Foundation board of trustees, gave an undisclosed sum to start the endowment, said Fran Day, the foundation's executive director.
"One of the university's goals is to become a national center for Indian education," Day said. "Most great universities have endowed chairs. Typically, the people who fill an endowed chair are people who are held in high esteem in the profession, in the community and by their colleagues.
"This is a statement, I think a major statement, about Haskell's direction as a university, that we are beginning to think in these terms and move forward."
Kansas University has about 55 endowed chairs.
Haskell is a government-sponsored college for American Indians with about 800 students. It was founded in 1884 to fulfill various treaties that promised American Indians education in exchange for their land. It now gets about $10 million a year from the federal government to pay for most of its operations.
This fall, Haskell began its first bachelor's degree program. School officials hope to develop others, including a program in American Indian Studies. Most of Haskell's courses now lead to two-year associate's degrees.
In August, the Haskell Foundation received three grants worth more than $75,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., to plan expansion of bachelor's degree programs.
The new endowed position at Haskell probably will be filled on a short-term rotating basis by various distinguished scholars and tribal elders beginning in the fall of 1996, Day said.