University of Montevallo announces first academic endowed chair

By GINNY COOPER/Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO—The University of Montevallo announced the first academic endowed chair in their 117-year history on May 9.

MIchael and Donna Grainger pledged $500,000 to the Michael E. Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo to fund the first academic endowed chair in the university's history (contributed).

MIchael and Donna Grainger pledged $500,000 to the Michael E. Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo to fund the first academic endowed chair in the university’s history (contributed).

The Michael J. and Donna H. Grainger Endowed Chair in Business and Accounting was made possible after Tennessee couple Michael and Donna Grainger pledged $500,000 to the Michael E. Stephens College of Business at the university.

Michael Grainger, a 1973 graduate of the University of Montevallo, received an undergraduate degree in accounting from the university.

“The University of Montevallo has a rich tradition of providing a high quality, affordable education that prepares students to succeed professionally and personally,” Grainger said in a statement. “As an alumnus, I know the importance of the education and unique experience the University of Montevallo provides. Along with my wife Donna, we have been able to see how individuals can make a profound difference on the University and its students.”

The Graingers have previously supported the Center for Professional Practice in the Michael E. Stephens College of Business, and their donations show “tremendous leadership,” according to a statement released by Dr. Stephen Craft, Dean of the College of Business.

“This new endowment to support a professorship will touch students for generations to come,” Craft said.

University President John W. Stewart III said the endowment will have a significant impact on the university.

“Endowning a Chair provides the University the capability to attract and retain top talent to work with our students,” Stewart said. “The higher education landscape is quite competitive, and we want to ensure our students have access to earn from the best. We are grateful for the generosity and dedication of the Graingers to our talented faculty and the entire UM family.”

The Michael J. and Donna H. Grainger Chair will support a faculty member within the College of Business with resources for faculty and student research, classroom experiences and faculty continuing education opportunities.