At issue | April 3 Herald-Leader article, "Deans seek new ways to raise money"
By Charles F. Haywood
I have much respect for the two talented journalists who wrote this article, but as a former dean of the University of Kentucky's business school, I must say they should have dug deeper. That under Dean Devanathan Sudharshan there are programs producing revenues is commendable, but the characterization that such activity is new is not true.
Indeed, the Gatton College of Business and Economics has a long history of generating extra-mural revenues, reaching back through its years as the College of Business and Economics (1966-95) and into the 1930s as the College of Commerce.
Under the late Edward Weist and Cecil Carpenter as deans, revenue-producing projects were done for state government and others through the Bureau of Business Research, directed by the late James Martin until his retirement in 1964.
Also, grants from the U. S. Small Business Administration and U. S. Agency for International Development supported research under the direction of the late Warren Haynes and retiree Robert Stroup. Revenues helped support graduate students as research assistants.
During my term as dean (1965-75), we obtained grants of federal funds from the Economic Development Administration, the Department of Education (under the Higher Education Act) and the Minority Business Program. Numerous projects were also done for various departments of state government.
Annual allocations of state funds were received for the work of the then-existing Kentucky Council of Economic Advisers, which I chaired, and such funds became the basic budget of the College's Center for Business and Economic Research. There was also a graduate program in Malaysia. In these activities, I had the enterprising assistance of an associate dean for extra-mural activities, the late H. K. Charlesworth.
My successor as dean was the late William Ecton. While continuing the college's revenue-producing activities, he also recognized an emerging need for larger amounts of money. Forming a Business Advisory Council, he initiated a program of seeking corporate gifts to help support the college.
By the time Richard Furst was appointed dean in 1981, the college clearly needed substantial extra-mural support. Moving aggressively, he formed the Business Partnership Foundation as an affiliated 501(c3) corporation to focus gift-giving for the college.
The results included the $14 million pledge from alumnus Carol Martin Gatton, for which the UK trustees expressed appreciation by renaming the college, and a $5 million gift from alumnus Douglas J. Von Allmen, matched by $5 million from the state's Research Challenge Trust Fund, to endow the Von Allmen School of Accountancy.
During Furst's tenure (1981-2003), the college's resources were significantly expanded, especially to support endowed chairs and named professorships. Revenues continued to come from research projects, through the Center for Business and Economic Research, and from conferences, through the College's International Business and Management Center. Also, externally funded programs of technical assistance and instruction were launched in Europe and Asia.
To be useful in mitigating inadequate state funding, extra-mural revenues must result in budgetary savings, such as meeting needs for which budgeted funds are insufficient.
Producing revenue does not help if it does not free up budgeted funds. Moreover, revenue-producing activities should be consistent with the teaching-research-service mission of the academic unit.
Careful evaluation of projects is essential if the tail is not to wag the dog. Gifts and matching funds, as garnered by Furst, are, of course, golden. The long history of extra-mural funding of the Gatton College should be revisited by your paper, with particular attention to Furst's timely role in building the college's resources as state appropriations became less and less supportive.