Tim Dunnagan, dean, Lutana Haan, assistant dean, and Jon Larkin, former development director, all within the College of Health Sciences, presented “From a Glass of Scotch to a Million Bucks: A Creative Approach to Creating an Endowed Professorship” at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) district VIII conference 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, in February.
The CASE conference brings together hundreds of advancement professionals working in communications, alumni relations, government relations, fundraising and advancement services for three days with a focus on communications and fundraising through a series of insightful keynotes, high level education and networking.
Dunnagan, Haan and Larkin’s presentation spoke to how they were able to collectively bring about the Merrick Family Endowed Professorship in Respiratory Care, the first endowed professorship in the Boise State University College of Health Sciences.
The highlight of their presentation explained the relationship between the Department of Respiratory Care and the Merrick family. The connection began back in the 1970’s when David Merrick was the medical director and professor for the department. After leaving the university, Merrick and his family became the largest scholarship donors to the department for many years. To further define this relationship, the department created an award in Merrick’s name to honor excellence in respiratory care practice.
Their presentation outlined how the College of Health Sciences leadership team came together to work towards an endowed professorship and the ways in which they were able to receive one in a nontraditional form. Presenters spoke to the success of having a development director within the college and how they believe it is the “fabric of the college.” They informed attendees that success comes from spreading advancement roles and responsibilities throughout a leadership team.
Presenters also shared the process and steps they took when asking a donor for such a large contribution, and the ways in which they made the Merrick family aware of the opportunity and impact an endowed position would have on the college and department. They shared funding approaches and further described how building relationships early on with donors is key to making endowments like this possible.