This year the Hospitality Business Management program at Washington State University Vancouver received a $2 million gift for an Endowed Chair. This is the first Endowed Chair at WSU Vancouver.
Endowments are donations made to an institution typically consisting of investment funds. The investment income is used to provide ongoing support for a specific program or faculty member. Such funding is not available through the state, so an endowment provides a campus with funding to significantly boost its resources and prestige.
An Endowed Chair is a title given to a faculty member, established by a donation to the university. A gift in the form of an Endowed Chair provides an institution with permanent funding to attract and support a talented faculty member. According to Jennifer Miltenberger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, funding for an Endowed Chair helps drive research in new directions and enrich student experience. She said the position of an Endowed Chair is highly prestigious for a faculty member.
Endowed Chair positions are usually given the name of the donor or the name of an individual the donor wishes to honor. According to the university, WSU Vancouver’s Endowed Chair will honor the founder of Red Lion Inn Hotels, Tod McClaskey, and his wife Maxine. Miltenberger said Vancouver, Washington was the headquarters for the chain and the gift will honor McClaskey’s leadership in the hotel industry.
In 2008, the McClaskey family donated $1.5 million to the Child Development Program. According to Miltenberger, the foundation has been supporting the Hospitality Business Management program by providing funds for a faculty member to lead the program. The success of the program contributed to the foundation’s decision to support an Endowed Chair. According to the WSU Vancouver website, the program ranks among the top 5 percent of such programs in the country. With the Endowed Chair included, the McClaskey family has donated more than $4 million to WSU Vancouver.