Jessi Rae Morton
In a press release on Jan. 11, 2023, UNC Greensboro announced that the Dylan Rose Kadis and Eloise Hall Kadis Distinguished Professorship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) will be established with a gift from Claudia Kadis ‘65. The press release goes on to explain that this new professorship in WGSS is the fifth professorship created through Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement.
Light the Way is a “comprehensive fundraising campaign seek[ing] to raise $200 million to increase access, elevate academic excellence and enhance the tremendous impact of UNCG’s programs.” At the time of writing, the campaign has raised over $150 million toward its goals. According to the Campaign Ambitions page, these donations will help the university “create endowed scholarships,” “double the number of endowed chairs and professorships” and develop “flexibility to respond” to current and future challenges.
The press release states that “The University expects the full value of [Claudia Kadis’s] gift to be $1 million. In addition to Kadis’s $666,000 gift, UNCG is seeking $334,000 in matched funding from the State’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund.” The North Carolina General Assembly created the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund in 1985, and the fund is intended to match private contributions to create endowments for distinguished professorships, such as this one. Furthermore, in most cases, established distinguished professorships remain with the institution if vacated, allowing a gift to support the position long term rather than one individual.
While the financial aspects of the gift and newly announced professorship are exciting developments, Claudia Kadis has been clear about the purpose of her gift, stating, “This gives a faculty member the opportunity to explore what they are passionate about and gives the University the opportunity to select someone they may not otherwise be able to bring to the school.” Furthermore, Dean John Z. Kiss of UNCG’s College of Arts and Sciences said, “Claudia’s gift will help one of our most interdisciplinary programs attract and retain dedicated faculty who will continue its tradition of fostering critical inquiry and social awareness. Her gift honors the women of the Women’s College era as well as all of today’s students.”
The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is interdisciplinary by any standard. According to the WGSS Program website, “The program encompasses more than 30 courses with a part-time director, an associate professor, an assistant professor, 35 cross-appointed faculty, and over 75 faculty affiliates from 17 departments. Faculty members affiliated with the program are housed in departments and professional schools throughout the university, making Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies the most well-established interdisciplinary program in the university.” Additionally, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at UNC Greensboro is one of the oldest in the country, having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Claudia Kadis was a UNC Greensboro student from 1961 to 1963, when UNC Greensboro was Woman’s College, and she has already contributed to the campus community through earlier gifts, including the Claudia and Bobby Kadis Graduate Scholarship for Studio Arts and the Claudia Buchdahl Kadis Merit Scholarship in Arts and Sciences. The Dylan Rose Kadis and Eloise Hall Kadis Distinguished Professorship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is named after Kadis’s granddaughters, “who were also the namesakes for the Dylan Rose Kadis and Eloise Hall Kadis Women’s Lecture Series, which has brought several speakers on women’s, gender, and sexuality issues to campus,” according to the University press release.
Speaking further about the reason for this gift, Kadis said, “My granddaughters are 10 and 21 and I want them to be inspired to share their good fortune in the future. I want to encourage the next generation to be philanthropic.”
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