FAS May Allow Donors to Endow Faculty Deanships

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences may soon allow donors to endow Faculty Dean positions in the House of their choice, FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said in an interview on Wednesday.

Selling the naming rights could be a much-needed source of revenue for House renewal, Smith said. Fundraising for the renovations has fallen short, leading to a complete depletion of FAS's unrestricted reserves. Those reserves are down from $112 million in fiscal year 2013.

“I need cash now to run House renewal,” he said. “I’ve been asking as much as possible [of] our incredible alumni, if they can get cash in early to the project.”

Last February, Smith unveiled the “Faculty Dean” title after the former name of the position—“House Master”—sparked controversy for its perceived associated with slavery.

“There’s been wonderful reaction,” Smith said of the possibility of endowing the deanships. “This is a fantastic opportunity for [donors] to think about… giving back to the College and in an area that’s extremely important and had a huge effect on them.”


FAS surpassed its $2.5 billion fundraising goal in June. With construction on Winthrop House underway and Lowell House slated for a two-year renovation starting next year, Smith said he hopes to push fundraising for House renewal.

In addition to the renewed focus on struggling priorities, FAS has made fundraising for undergraduate social life a priority, Smith said.

—Staff writer Jonathan G. Adler can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JonathanGAdler.

—Staff writer Melissa C. Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @melissa_rodman.