Former students endow new professorships, fellowship

Leading by example, four former students of the Texas A&M College of Architecture have made generous commitments, creating three professorships to fund in perpetuity the holders’ teaching, research and service endeavors, and a new fellowship to support a promising residential construction educator.

The college’s latest endowed faculty positions include:

  • The Harold L. Adams ’61 Interdisciplinary Professorship in Visualization, the fourth College of Architecture professorship to be endowed by Adams, chairman emeritus of RTKL, one of the worlds leading design, planning and creativity firms;
  • The James M. Singleton IV ’66, FAIA Educational Architecture Professorship, created by Singleton, founder of Jim Singleton Architects, now SZH Architecture;
  • The James and Kimberly Manskey Visiting Professorship, established by James Manskey, president of TBG Partners, a landscape architecture firm, and his wife Kimberly through a planned gift; and
  • The George W. Seagraves ‘80 Faculty Fellowship in Residential Construction, established by Seagraves, a former executive at nationwide homebuilder D.R. Horton.

Extraordinary donations like these, said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the college, bolster scholarly activity at the college and play a critical supporting role in the recruitment, recognition and retention of outstanding faculty.

“Personally, and on behalf of the college, I am deeply grateful for this support,” he said, “as it ensures that the legacy of faculty excellence in the college will remain strong as we journey to the future.”

With a $150,000 gift, Adams and Singleton and Seagraves endowed each of their professorships. A $150,000 gift from Seagraves endowed his fellowship, and a $200,000 commitment by the Manskeys through a planned gift will endow their professorship.

Adams, a longtime advocate of interdisciplinary teaching and research, is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University and an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture.

This gift, he said, is a natural extension of his previously endowed professorships in the departments of Architecture, Construction Science, and Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

“Interdisciplinary cooperation is something I’ve always wanted to encourage in the college,” he said, “and I am especially proud to create the first endowed visualization faculty position.”

The launch of Texas A&M University’s Lead by Example capital campaign prompted Singleton, an outstanding alumnus of the college, a to make a gift he had long considered.

“When I got the letter from our president, Michael Young, about the new campaign, it brought everything to a head,” Singleton said. “The timing just seemed right.” 

The Singleton professorship will support a full-time or visiting professor with a teaching and/or research focus on educational facility design.

Kimberly and Jim Manskey ’79 are funding an endowed professorship with a provision in their estate plan. The professorship will bring practicing landscape architects to teach in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. Jim Manskey was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture in 2015.

“We’ve enjoyed what my education has done for us and our lives,” said Jim Manskey.  “An important part of that education was the role practitioners played in teaching us landscape architecture, its connection to the built environment and the real world.  We want to make sure that opportunity is available for future landscape architecture students.”

Seagraves saw his gift as an investment in an industry he served for many years.

“I want to familiarize students with residential construction and provide them with another avenue to pursue building science education,” he said.

As a faculty fellowship, the Seagraves endowment is distinguished from an endowed professorship in that it will permanently support an “up-and-coming” construction science faculty member who focuses on residential construction education. Professorship appointments are typically limited to a few years.

“Each of the 24 endowed chairs and professorships has a unique, profound impact on the college’s mission and reflects the donor’s particular interest,” said Larry Zuber, assistant vice president for development  

For more information on the impact of endowments, other private gifts to the college or Texas A&M’s Lead by Example campaign, contact Larry Zuber, at lzuber@txamfoundation.com or visit giving.tamu.edu.

posted December 15, 2015