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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Four Professors Earned Endowed Positions

Dr. Brown, Dr. Casey, Dr. Loutsch, and Jacquelyn Knapp were honored with new titles
Emily Loughridge
Dr. Casey talked at the Board of Regents meeting about her students and experiences at USAO.

Dr. Kayla Hale and her leadership team honored four of USAO’s professors with endowed professorships towards the end of the fall trimester, including Dr. Brenda Brown, dean of the school of IDS and Humanities; Dr. J.C. Casey, professor of communication; Dr. Jeannette Loutsch, professor of biology; and Jacquelyn Knapp, professor of art. At the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, Dec. 13, the newly endowed professors gave a heartfelt thank you, gave reasons for why they do their profession, and shared examples of successful students they’ve mentored over their years with the university.

USAO now has six endowed professors, as Dr. Zach Simpson, professor of philosophy and religious studies, and Dr. Stephen Weber, professor of music, also hold endowed positions. The first of the six positions was established in 1995 by President Roy Troutt, according to Dr. Hale. Each of the positions was established over a number of years from 1995 to 2009.

“I got a letter from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in the mail that said here are the endowments that we hold for you, here are the corpus amounts, and here is how much is available based on the interest earned from those accounts. So, I was happy, I didn’t know about this,” Dr. Hale said.

Dr. Hale explained that endowed professorships are permanent positions that utilizes a money-matching program that was funded by state legislature and was administered by the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education (OSRHE). The endowments cover a percentage of the named professor’s salary, which leaves money available to create new faculty lines. Dr. Hale said that one of the new positions will be in the new computer science program, and she said the other position has not yet been determined.

The total endowment balance totals just over $3.5 million. Each fiscal year the university has an available distribution amount to use, which arises from 4.5% interest rate. For 2023, USAO had $163,003 available.

Dr. Donna Miles, vice president of academic affairs, handed out the new titles to the professors. She said the endowments are a show for the regents and the community, as it shows the university has outside donors “who are proud enough of the work that we do here to support our faculty and our students.”

“All of them were very humbled and very pleased, very receptive. It’s quite an honor to be an endowed professor, they all recognized that. They were appreciative of us recognizing their hard work over the years,” Dr. Miles said.

Dr. Brown was awarded the Jessie Dearing Kinley Endowed Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has been at USAO for 32 years, where she teaches English and is the study abroad coordinator. She said she was honored and surprised at receiving this new title.

“Students. It’s the students that keep you motivated, and I am good friends with many of my former students who keep in contact with me,” Dr. Brown said. “I really believe that the way we teach interdisciplinarity is the way everything should be taught. I mean how can you teach literature without teaching psychology, or history, or sociology. It’s impossible, it really is literally impossible.”

Dr. Casey was awarded the Dorothy G. Wilcox Endowed Professorship in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has been a professor at USAO for 32 years, and in recent years has began building a video production program alongside David Duncan. Dr. Casey was left speechless after Dr. Miles told her the news.

“I don’t know that they understood what they were creating, but they knew that this place meant something so powerful to the women they left these in their names. They wanted to continue what that person found here, and that’s what I think I’m doing. I’m part of that legacy now,” Dr. Casey said.

Dr. Loutsch was awarded the Giles Family Endowed Professorship in Biology. She has been on USAO’s faculty list since 2007, where she has increased the attendance of USAO’s Women in Technology and Science Day and obtained the first Summer Academy grant for the university 13 years ago.

“Thank you. It is an amazing honor to represent them in all of the things that I do and that I will continue to do. Even now that I have this, it doesn’t mean I get to sit back on my tail and not do anything. I need to keep coming up with new ways to help students and new ways to educate people about science, especially those that don’t want to be taught about science,” Dr. Loutsch said.

Knapp was awarded the Dorothy Cusick Endowed Professorship in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began here in 1984 as a student and returned as a faculty member in 1988. Another honor that Knapp received was when she was inducted into USAO’s Alumni Hall of Fame, which was a decision by her peers.

“To get both recognition from my peers and from my administration, those two together just mean okay I’m doing something right here. I’ll keep going. You know, you ramble on sometimes and you’re like ‘Man, am I really making a difference?’ and that’s a question I think every teacher has, and that really cements that you are making a difference,” Knapp said.

Dr. Hale said she and the USAO Foundation are working on gathering documents about the families who provided these endowments, including who the family was, what they did, what the initial size of their gift was, and why they gave it.

“The thing I want to do is establish more endowed chairs. There’s an importance in the academy and a prestige that comes with being named an endowed chair, and it is something to celebrate within the academy and it’s something to celebrate among those professors’ peer groups,” Dr. Hale said. “We need to have a historical record of all these endowments, and I want to add more. We need to do that. We need to add more endowed positions and more endowed scholarships as well.”


Emily Loughridge is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a third-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining a minor in psychology, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant, where she takes photos of the various athletic events and assists with the live broadcast. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream on the couch with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Dec. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022