It has been eight years since Gene Budig was chancellor of Kansas University, but his influence continues on campus.
Budig and his wife, Gretchen, have donated money to the KU Endowment Association to establish the university's first professorship in special education, KU officials announced Friday.
The gift will be combined with money previously donated by the Budigs and money donated in honor of Budig when he left KU in 1994 to fund the professorship. The Budigs also donated money in 1994 for another education professorship at KU.
"Recognizing faculty is one way to remind society of the importance of outstanding teaching and research," Budig said in a statement. "Gretchen and I have enormous respect for the KU School of Education and its people, and we are especially pleased to add a second teaching professorship, this one in special education."
John Scarffe, an Endowment Association spokesman, declined to say how much the Budigs donated or the total amount of the professorship.
"That's sort of not the point," he said.
He also declined to discuss other gifts the Budigs have provided, noting that most of them have been kept quiet at their request.
"A large percentage of their gifts over the years have not been announced," he said.
Angela Lumpkin, dean of the School of Education, said the professorship would help KU's department of special education maintain its No. 1 ranking from U.S. News and World Report, a position it has held for six years.
"Gene and Gretchen Budig recognize that one of the most important ways to promote excellent teaching is to reward it through professorships and awards," Lumpkin said.
Budig served 13 years as KU's chancellor, and led the university through Campaign Kansas, a five-year, $265 million fund-raising drive. He left to become president of major league baseball's American League, and now serves as senior adviser to Bud Selig, baseball commissioner.
The Budigs live in Princeton, N.J.