Historic Endowment Establishes Lavern N. Gaynor President's Chair at International College

In an unprecedented gesture of support for the mission of International College, and recognition of the longstanding leadership of its president, Dr. Terry McMahan, school officials convened on April 13, 2006, to establish The Lavern Norris Gaynor President’s Chair at International College.

Established through an endowment awarded by Lavern Norris Gaynor, one of International College’s most ardent supporters, the gift is unique in terms of both its size and structure.

In accordance with the donor’s wishes, school officials decline to quantify the endowment’s dollar value; however, International College Vice President of Advancement Dr. Louis Traina concedes that it represents the most generous ever bestowed in the 16-year history of the school.

"The endowment of the President's Chair is a momentous gift; it’s a gift that represents the fullest respect for the qualities of International College’s leadership, leadership that embraces community trusteeship, leadership that empowers faculty and staff, and leadership that is forever serving our students," said Traina.

School officials point to its structure, and the intent behind its awarding, as philanthropic innovation.

Beyond assuring future continuity of the leadership values that have driven International College’s growth, the endowment essentially provides a reserve for remuneration of International College’s leadership – forever.

Dr. Traina goes on to suggest that examples of this type of endowment are rare and could even become contagious.

"Today’s philanthropists will look closely at the leadership of charitable organizations when choosing those most worthy of their support," said Traina. "This gift is an affirmation of the critical role that is fulfilled by leadership."

"I considered other areas of giving, but the President’s Chair just seemed like the best starting point," said Mrs. Gaynor.

"I’m amazed by all President Terry McMahan has accomplished in such a short span of time and how this College has helped so many students finally achieve their dreams of securing a college degree. I marvel to see so many of their graduates now assuming leadership roles throughout the region. We live in a time where leadership is so important, in our country, in our community, in our corporations, and especially our schools. My reason for establishing this chair is to ensure a continuity of the principled leadership that Terry McMahan has provided throughout the entirety of his career with International College," added Gaynor.

In fact, that leadership has attracted notice from more than residents and students of Florida.

On April 20, during a ceremony that will be held in Orlando, Dr. Terry McMahan will be honored by the International Assembly of Colleges in Business Education with the 2006 Leadership in Education Award.

In selecting Dr. McMahan from the leadership of colleges and universities around the world, IACBE President John Greene cited International College’s growth, the quality of its curriculum, and its unique catering to working adults as a few of the considerations behind their determination to honor Dr. McMahan.

As for Dr. McMahan, he returns much of the credit back to his staff and long time supporters like Lavern Gaynor.

"I work with the most passionate team of professionals working in education today and it is their dedication, combined with the devotion of supporters like Mrs. Gaynor, that truly helps to make a difference in the lives of our students," said Dr. McMahan.

He added that while he is very appreciative of recognition for his leadership, he is also very aware of the leadership that many have contributed to help International College reach the point where it is today – "a public leader among private, higher education institutions."
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