Written by Abigail Cooper
On March 21, Chancellor Emeritus Clifton Ganus’ family established the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Endowed Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science at Harding University.
“It’s a very unique situation where one person has such institutional knowledge and has been involved for a long time,” Son of Chancellor Ganus Charles Ganus said. “He loves Harding, and he loves the church. I trust that he is pleased, but he’s pleased as much for what it will do for Harding and what it will do for the students as the fact that his name’s on it.”
The endowed Chair is additional funding and resources for programs that the department would not normally have in its regular budget. The department is tasked with using these funds to help the students taking history classes, but is not just for history majors.
The first funds will be available to the department by next school year.
“There are tremendous opportunities and funds that they can use to improve the teaching of history at Harding University,” Dr. Bryan Burks, associate professor of business said. “This is the third time we’ve had an endowed chair, but we are seeing momentum.”
An endowed chair is one of the highest honors a faculty member can receive; honors a faculty member based on their excellence in teaching. It is a benefit to the department that adds prestige to the university.
Dr. Cliff Ganus said it will recognize Chancellor Ganus and may serve as a model for others who would be willing to recognize outstanding teachers and establish similar chairs. The holder of the chair will be designated by the department of history and political science. The funding can be used for scholarships, travel, student activities or anything that helps the learning process.
“A lot of students today see my dad as an old gentlemen who apparently had an important function at one time, and they don’t realize the significance of his teaching here and the contributions he made academically and socially and spiritually,” Cliff Ganus said.
Burks predicts the university will have several more endowed chairs in the next five to six years.
“One of the exciting things about this endowed chair is I hope this launches the establishment of a lot of other endowed chairs,” President Bruce McLarty said. “We have a number of other Harding icons around that we believe people would like to honor like this, and it would make new resources available for teachers and students.”