Gifts from members of the Kansas University Endowment Association's Chancellors Club help make the difference between mediocrity and excellence at KU.
The purpose of Kansas University is to provide the best possible educational environment for the young men and women who select KU for their college education. That's the basic purpose. To succeed in this effort, the school must have enthusiastic, talented and dedicated faculty members and talented students who want to excel. KU also needs facilities, libraries, laboratories and museums that provide the best possible environment for stimulating learning, teaching and research.
Friday evening, more than 300 people gathered in Lawrence for the annual Chancellors Club banquet. Those belonging to the Chancellors Club have committed to an annual contribution of $1,000 or more or to a life membership based on lifetime unrestricted giving of $50,000 or lifetime designated giving of $100,000. The Chancellors Club was started in 1977, and currently there are more than 1,300 members who meet and, most often, far exceed the fiscal membership requirements.
The availability of unrestricted funds at KU is a primary reason the university has been able to stress excellence in its academic program rather than to settle for mediocrity. And in the long run, excellence will be the distinguishing factor between those universities that excel and those content to merely get by.
Friday evening, two KU faculty members, Cynthia Schira, fine arts, and Dr. Laurence Y. Cheung, professor and chairman of surgery in the KU medical school, received Chancellors Club awards, which carry a stipend of $5,000. These awards were created in 1981 to recognize and honor teaching and research excellence among KU faculty members. Forty KU faculty members have received this award.
Also honored were 10 KU freshmen who were named Chancellors Club Scholars. Five students are from Kansas and five from out of state. Each student is a National Merit finalist and each receives a renewable scholarship in recognition of outstanding achievement in high school.
Money for the faculty and student awards comes from unrestricted funds contributed to the KU Endowment Association. This is the type of giving emphasized by the Chancellors Club. Some of the other uses of such funds include a new child care facility for KU, minority teacher education scholarships, study abroad scholarships, the University Scholars Program, merit scholarships for top academic students, creative and performing arts scholarships, art and book acquisitions, programs to improve teaching, funds to match a gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation for awards to outstanding teaching professors and many other programs that would not be covered by state funds.
Chancellors Club members have done much over the years to help KU be a true academic leader. The university is fortunate to have so many interested alumni and friends and they are to be thanked for their generosity and continued interest in the school.