Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2008

Sen. Corn Wins Senate Approval for Measure Creating Funding Source for Endowed Chairs


Endowed chairs help bring some of the most brilliant minds in higher education to Oklahoma college campuses, but for years the private donations have far outpaced the state matching dollars needed to fund those positions. That could change, thanks to a measure by Sen. Kenneth Corn.

“In the past, the state has used bonds to raise revenues to match private donations for endowed chairs, but I don’t think that’s a good use of taxpayer dollars. First of all, we have to pay interest on those bonds, which means less money in the long run for higher education and other state services,” explained Corn, D-Poteau. “Even issuing bonds, we haven’t kept up with the need for more matching dollars. That’s why we need a permanent funding source.”

On Wednesday, Corn successfully amended House Bill 3396 by Sen. Glenn Coffee to include his proposal to take a portion of the state’s share of revenues from tribal gaming and create a permanent funding stream for endowed chairs, which would amount to about $8 million a year. Corn said that would help address the immediate backlog of $96 million and generate funding to match future donations.

“I am amazed at the generosity of the many individuals and organizations who have contributed to endowed chairs across our state, enhancing our students’ educational experiences and bringing greater prestige and recognition to our college campuses,” Corn said. “We owe our young people the best education possible, and creating a permanent funding source to match donations for endowed chairs will help us achieve that goal.”

The bill now moves to a conference committee where the final version of the legislation will be written.

For more information contact:
Senator Corn's Office:  (405) 521-5576