Monday, March 18, 2013

Philosophy and History Departments Split $4 Million Gift from UNO Alumnus

The University of New Orleans celebrated Friday nearly $4 million in planned gifts to the philosophy and history departments from alumnus Carl Muckley Sr. Muckley, an independent businessman who earned two degrees from UNO, died in 2004.

The gifts will promote growth in the philosophy and history departments, and fund a number of scholarships, including two key scholarships named for UNO professors who inspired Muckley.

UNO President Peter J. Fos, other administrators, members of the philosophy and history departments, and honored guests gathered Friday, March 15, in the Homer L. Hitt Alumni Center Ballroom to celebrate the gifts.

"Carl Muckley started these endowments as a young man, within 15 years of graduation," said Susan Krantz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "Even though his initial endowments were small, they grew to this really transformative amount by the time of his untimely death. The kernel was planted while he was at UNO."

Muckley graduated from UNO with a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1975 and a master's degree in history in 1983. His love of learning led him to continue auditing courses at UNO throughout his life.

The $1.95 million gift received by the philosophy department has established the Donald K. Hanks Endowed Scholarship Fund in Philosophy. The gift will fund in perpetuity a scholarship established by Muckley in 1988 to honor his mentor, Donald K. Hanks, UNO professor emeritus of philosophy.

At least 50 percent of the yearly endowment interest on the fund will be reserved for student scholarships and awards, said Rob Stufflebeam, associate professor and chair of the philosophy department. The department's immediate goal is to increase its number of philosophy majors and graduates and launch the department's online degree program; the fund will also help to improve department resources and develop faculty, he said.

Muckley's $1.95 million bequest to the history department was made in the name of the late Joseph Logsdon, who, at the time of his death in 1999, had just been named the first Ethel & Herman Midlo Endowed Chair of New Orleans Studies, said Andrew Goss, associate professor of history and department chair.

In the early 1990s, Muckley made an initial gift in Logsdon's name to support an academic scholarship for an outstanding junior history major. The current bequest builds on that gift and will include an expanded undergraduate scholarship program, as well as investments in teaching and research, Goss said.

The department plans to name a professorship after Joseph Logsdon and establish a Carl E. Muckley scholarship for first-generation college students, Goss said. More than 90 percent of the bequest will be endowed, making the funds available to students and faculty of the UNO history department in perpetuity.