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Wofford receives $1 million gift from trustee


2008-03-05

Wofford College has received a $1 million gift from Trustee Mike James to permanently endow a new professorship in accounting and finance.  The announcement was made Feb. 19 at a meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The college is in the process of filling six or seven new faculty positions for the fall of 2008, increasing the number of full-time teaching professors to at least 112.  “Since we began our $105 million Campaign for Wofford College in October 2002, 10 new endowed professorships have been established, and our goal is to double this number in the next few years,” says Marion Peavey, senior vice president for development and college relations.  “Clearly, our trustees and friends are seriously committed to attracting the best and the brightest teachers, and to reducing the faculty-to-student ratio even below its current 1 to 11.”

Peavey adds that the James professorship and the recently announced Laura and Winston Hoy Professorship in the department of English enable the college to receive a second Reeves Foundation Endowed Professorship under the terms of a challenge program designed by J.E. “Ed” Reeves of Summit, N.J., a key Wofford trustee for two decades.

James, a 1973 Wofford graduate, is a general partner in WEDGE Capital Management of Charlotte, N.C.  He has worked with the college’s Investment Advisory Committee since 1994, playing an important role in increasing the market value of Wofford’s endowment to more than $160 million (as of July 1, 2007).  He continues to support the college through significant gifts earmarked for scholarships and academic programs.

“Our family has had a very special relationship with the college through several generations,” says James, whose daughter, Abigail, is a first-year Wofford student.  “We not only connect through many friendships and a love of the physical place, but we also respect Wofford’s 150-year commitment to the idea that education at its best requires a good teacher working one-on-one with a good student.  When we support Wofford, we look to the future and to a college preparing young people for work and service through the 2000s.”

“No one better evinces the trustees’ concern for faculty well-being than Mike James, who truly understands the value of great teaching,” says Wofford President Benjamin B. Dunlap.  “His first large gift to Wofford was an endowed scholarship fund created in honor of the high school teacher who had urged Mike to come here.  His most recent gift is a breathtaking million-dollar endowment for a professorship, enabling the college to meet the Reeves Foundation Challenge and thereby create two more such professorships.  He also has made an extremely generous gift to establish a student-driven investment program within the business-finance major.  In a multitude of ways, Mike James has set the bar for all of us in supporting the paramount importance of teaching and learning at Wofford College.  The truth of the matter is, by example, Mike himself is a truly great teacher.”