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Endowed Chairs

"Why do we give to Vanderbilt?  The answer is simple: We have been extremely fortunate in life. Vanderbilt played a key role in that fortunate life.  Now it’s time to pay it forward."

~ H. Eugene McBrayer, BE’54

Distinguished faculty are a valuable resource to the School of Engineering because they:

  • Excel in teaching and research
  • Raise the bar for other members of the faculty
  • Attract outstanding graduate students
  • Bring in financial resources
  • Advance the reputation of the school

The competition for recruiting and retaining such faculty grows more heated by the year. One of the most effective tools in this competition is the ability to offer an endowed, named chair.

The number of endowed chairs is far greater at our peer universities. For example Duke engineering has 16 and the engineering program at Washington University has 31. Vanderbilt engineering has nine.  Since most distinguished educators and researchers have their pick of the top institutions, this lack of endowed chairs puts us at a competitive disadvantage when seeking to recruit and retain extraordinary faculty.


"Endowed professorships are important for recruiting and retaining the very best faculty. They bring prestige to the chair holder, to the benefactor who funded the professorship, and to the university. Often such chairs are endowed by alumni and in this regard they establish or reinforce critical links between a department’s past and present."

~ Peter Pintauro, holder of the H. Eugene McBrayer Chair in Chemical Engineering

If you’d like to know more about endowed chairs, please contact the School of Engineering Development Office  by e-mail or by calling 615/322-4934.