Baldwin Baker University has received a $1 million gift for an endowed professorship, part of a push to create more endowed faculty positions on campus.
The donation, from former Kansas City, Mo., resident Susan L. Perry, will create an endowed chair in Western American history.
"It's a wonderful investment in the future," President Dan Lambert said. "It shows that people of means have a great deal of confidence in the university and the educational programs we have."
Perry said the gift was the result of a lifelong fascination with westward expansion during the 19th century. She now lives in Albuquerque, N.M., but was involved in projects such as the Kansas City Zoo and the Children's Fountain while in Kansas City.
She also served five terms on Baker's board of trustees and was named an honorary alumna in 1999.
"I have become absolutely enchanted, and I mean that, by Baker," she said.
The chair will be filled by Karen Exon, professor of history and political science at Baker since 1989. Exon previously held a chair in history, which will now be held by Ryan Beasley, professor of political science.
This is the sixth endowed chair at Baker. The university also has four endowed professorships, which require a lower investment to begin, Lambert said.