Endowed Chairs and Professorships
The tradition of endowing positions goes back to 1502 in England with chairs in divinity at Oxford and Cambridge, created by Margaret, Countess of Richmond. At the time, the idea was to give endowed professors an elaborate chair from which to lecture. The first endowed chair in America was the Hollis Professorship of Divinity at Harvard, established by London merchant Thomas Hollis in 1721. Today, endowed faculty positions provide a means to attract and retain the very best faculty. For the professor, they provide a recognized mark of distinction.