A retired Kansas University professor of urban planning has established a $1.4 million estate commitment to KU for the university’s first professorship in urban planning.
Alan Black taught at KU beginning in 1981 and took full retirement in 2007.
He said he was able to give because, “I never married and didn’t have any children.”
Education runs in his family, too. His father was a professor at Harvard University, and his mother was a teacher. Both his brother and brother-in-law worked as professors, and his sister was a teacher.
He is dividing his estate largely between KU and Cornell University, where he received his doctoral degree.
He also has contributed $158,000 to a scholarship created for urban planning graduate students, which is named for him.
“Alan has created many ‘firsts’ in the Urban Planning Department — from his scholarship and now to the professorship in his name,” said John Gaunt, dean of architecture, design and planning. “We are so grateful for his generosity and for the impact that his philanthropy has had and will have on the department and on KU urban planning students.”
Black said he enjoyed his time at KU and never sought another job.
He said he appreciated the need for funding to hire professors — after he fully retired in 2007, the department was not able to hire a replacement for him until this year, he said.
“It’s a specialized field,” he said. “We compete with some institutions that are very attractive to people.”