Named deanship recognizes Sproull gift

I n what President Thomas Jackson has called "an extraordinary gift," President Emeritus Robert Sproull and his wife, Mary, have endowed a discretionary fund for the use of the College dean of the faculty of arts, sciences, and engineering.

Robert and Mary Sproull in 1975

In recognition of the $2 million pledge, the dean's position--now held by Thomas LeBlanc--will be renamed the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the College Faculty. LeBlanc will be officially installed in the named deanship at the College Convocation at noon on Friday, September 10, on the Eastman Quadrangle.

A highly regarded physicist and administrator, Sproull came to Rochester as provost in 1968. He retired as president in 1984 after 14 years as president and nine as the University's chief executive officer. His years at Rochester saw, among other achievements, the construction of Wilson Commons, the establishment of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and the successful conclusion of what was then (by far) the University's largest fundraising campaign.


Earnings from the Sproull endowment will be used to provide enhanced opportunities for faculty research and learning in the arts, sciences, and engineering, Jackson said. Possible uses include competitive faculty research awards for disciplines in which external funds are not widely available, and seed funding or bridge funding for disciplines in which external funds are available. Other possible uses include a College-wide lecture or seminar series highlighting prominent research done by College faculty, a distinguished visiting scholars program, and an expanded "bridging" fellowship program that allows professors to investigate other disciplines.

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