Colleen Flaherty has the story in InsideHigherEd, here:
Facing what is sure to be a difficult retention season, given this year’s battles over the future of higher education funding and tenure in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin at Madison is today announcing the results of a massive donation-matching campaign aimed at recognizing top faculty members with endowed chairs.
“This is a transformative gift to create new chairs and opportunities to attract and maintain” top faculty, said Rebecca Blank, Madison’s chancellor. “This is a statement that we are a very strong university where good things are happening.”
Last fall, an alumni couple, Tashia Morgridge, a retired special education teacher, and John Morgridge, former chief executive of Cisco Systems, announced that they would match up to $100 million in donations to endow new and enhanced professorships, chairs and distinguished professorships in an effort to recruit and retain star professors. The chairs were to be established in the matching donors’ names, not the Morgridges’.
The motivation was state budget cuts. Similar to the 25 UO Knight professorships and chairs, which were endowed in 1996 with $15M from Phil and Penny Knight, and about the same in matching donations, if I remember correctly.