Newswise — Tulane University has received a $5 million commitment for the funding of a Presidential Chair from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. Foundation chairman and president, Phyllis M. Taylor, is a member of the Board of Tulane and a graduate of Tulane Law School. 

Tulane will establish the Phyllis M. Taylor Presidential Chair Endowed Fund, which will be used to support a chair in an interdisciplinary area of academic study to be determined by Tulane in consultation with Taylor. The grant will fund the salary and other expenses directly associated with the professor’s academic work.

“Tulane University continues to build on its reputation of providing state of the art educational opportunities for its students,” Taylor said. “Having nationally and internationally recognized faculty is vital in continuing that challenge. A Presidential Chair will allow for one more such person to share his or her knowledge with the student body.”   

Taylor and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation contributed $15 million for the creation of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking in 2014 and funded the $1 million prize to the winning team of the Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Grand Challenge in 2017. 

Taylor is currently a co-chair of the Only the Audacious campaign. She is a past member of the President’s Council and has also served on the Tulane University Health and Sciences Center Board of Governors, the Tulane Medical Center Hospital/Clinic Board of Directors, the Center for Bioenvironmental Research Advisory Council, the Key to the Cure Committee, and the Newcomb Dance Advisory Board. In addition, she is the 2011 recipient of the Dermott McGlinchey Award.

“Phyllis Taylor's support is absolutely central to Tulane’s goal of bringing the best minds from multiple fields together to solve the world’s most pressing challenges,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said. “Her funding of the Phyllis M. Taylor Presidential Chair Endowed Fund is the latest in her longstanding and unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.” 

Fitts highlighted the Presidential Chairs during the launch of Only the Audacious, The campaign for an ever bolder Tulane. The campaign is the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in Tulane’s 184 years with a goal of raising $1.3 billion.

The purpose of the Presidential Chairs is to attract some of the world’s most-renowned faculty members in areas such as biomedicine, coastal restoration, global health and fields not yet explored. These faculty members will embark on a pursuit of teaching and research that crosses multiple disciplines and transforms the world. 

Fitts plans to establish many such professorships and has designated this as a campaign priority. These pre-eminent faculty will be hired as university-wide professors with joint appointments between schools to research and teach at the intersection of different subjects. 

Taylor’s late husband, Patrick (Pat) Taylor, was a member of the Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council. Taylor succeeded her husband as chairman and chief executive officer of Taylor Energy Company LLC, a privately-owned independent energy company.  

In 2018, in honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial, she was named one of The Times-Picayune’s “300 for 300” highlighting 300 of the most significant people in New Orleans’ 300-year history.

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