Since Lenfest made his $33 million challenge gift in the spring of 2007, W&L supporters have answered him with more than $18 million of the required $33 million match. All of the donations support faculty salaries. The purpose of Lenfest's challenge is to raise W&L's faculty compensation to the mean of compensation packages offered by W&L's peer schools.
Lenfest believes competitive pay is key to preserving W&L as the great teaching university that graduates know and love. President Ken Ruscio and the Board of Trustees agree; faculty compensation is a top priority of W&L's strategic plan.
The University has until December 31, 2010, to meet the Lenfest Challenge.
Many Lenfest Challenge donors also have taken advantage of Lenfest's special offer to help fund professorships. For information on how you can help meet the Lenfest Challenge, please contact Dennis Cross, vice president for advancement, at email@example.com or (540) 458-8232, or Tres Mullis, executive director of University development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 458-8165.
from The Bridge: Fall 2009 issue
Each year, the fight for the best faculty members grows tougher. Top colleges and universities compete for exactly the type of professors W&L is known for--superb teachers who always have time for students, and who also are masters in their fields.
Gerry Lenfest '53, '55L understood the competition was fierce when he made an extraordinary $33 million challenge gift to W&L in 2007. It was a direct injection to faculty salaries. But Lenfest knows that salaries by themselves will not win the battle for faculty. Accordingly, the Philadelphia philanthropist, whose generosity seems to know no bounds, has given W&L another weapon in its arsenal: $17 million for faculty sabbaticals and summer research.
This gift, combined with Lenfest's earlier challenge gift, represents a $50 million investment in Washington and Lee's faculty.
The $17 million is key to W&L's mandate to attract top talent and retain the professors already here. "As important as compensation is," explained Provost June Aprille, "building a great faculty takes more. Schools that retain great professors pay them competitively and also give them time and resources to be lifelong learners," Aprille pointed out. "We are always at risk of losing high-achieving faculty members to other institutions," she said. "We keep them here by giving them opportunities to develop as teachers and scholars."
Sabbaticals and summer grants are among those prized opportunities. Because of Lenfest, professors at W&L now will have more of them.
Lenfest's gift establishes two endowments. The H.F. Lenfest Endowment for Faculty Summer Support will fund more and larger grants to faculty members to support their scholarly work during the summer. Combined with other University funding, the Lenfest Endowment will fund at least 100 individual grants each year.
The second endowment, the H.F. Lenfest Endowment for Faculty Sabbaticals, when combined with other University resources, will fund year-long salaried sabbaticals for up to 10 faculty members each year.
These investments in individual faculty members will reap dividends across campus. "Gerry Lenfest's latest gift permits the University's faculty to remain current in their fields and make their own scholarly contributions, which will ultimately translate into much richer classroom experiences for our students," said President Kenneth P. Ruscio '76. "We are so grateful to Gerry for his generosity and his foresight. His support of Washington and Lee is simply remarkable."
To hear Gerry Lenfest speak about his support, visit go.wlu.edu/Lenfest_gift.