Wichita — A Wichita foundation formed by the founders of Koch Industries has established a new business professorship at Kansas University.
A gift announced Monday from the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation will help create a professorship in entrepreneurship for the KU School of Business that will serve as the cornerstone for a new Institute for Entrepreneurship and Business Ventures.
Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, said the institute and Koch professor would help students learn the fundamental economic and ethical components of entrepreneurship.
"We believe programs like this are extremely important because they help build the understanding and culture that lead to a more productive and civil world," Koch said. "A key element is demonstrating that true entrepreneurship requires creating real value and profiting ethically only by economic means."
A national search to fill the professorship will begin immediately, according to KU officials.
The Koch Foundation's gift of $500,000, which will be eligible for state matching support through the Kansas Partnership for Faculty of Distinction Program, will be combined with previous Koch Foundation contributions to the KU Endowment Association totaling $3 million. Taken together, the contributions will create the fourth-largest professorship fund at KU Endowment.
Chancellor Robert Hemenway said it was fitting the institute and professorship were being created by a Wichita foundation, because the city has been the birthplace of such entrepreneurial enterprises as Cessna Aircraft Co., Coleman Co. Inc., Pizza Hut and Koch Industries.
"We are grateful that the Koch Foundation chose to make this investment in KU because it will allow us to launch this promising institute during a time of economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint," Hemenway said.