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CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701
NORMAN – Will and Helen Webster of Altadena, Calif., found the perfect way to surprise longtime University of Oklahoma staff member Paul Massad on his 76th birthday -- a $1 million gift to establish an endowed faculty chair in Massad’s honor.
The Paul D. Massad Chair in Strategic Communication in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication will continue Massad’s more than half century legacy at OU.
“We are so grateful for Will and Helen Webster’s tribute to one of our most loyal and treasured journalism graduates,” said OU President David L. Boren, who announced the gift today. “Paul has dedicated his life to OU and is one of our University’s most valued assets. This endowed chair will continue Paul’s remarkable legacy and his impact on future generations of the OU family.”
Massad said, “What an incredible surprise. Will and Helen Webster are such special and close friends. The Websters are generous supporters of OU, and I am personally so deeply touched by their gift, which will forever benefit the University and its students.”
Massad, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism (public relations) in 1960, is senior associate vice president for University Development and director of Major Gifts at OU. He began his professional career during his senior year at OU, working in the Extension Division, now OU Outreach.
He went on to recruit students as director of High School and College Relations and kept them connected to their alma mater as the chief executive of OU’s Alumni Association. In 1990, he was promoted to associate vice president for University Affairs and executive director of Alumni Affairs. In 2000, he moved to University Development, where his longtime relationships with OU alumni have made him one of OU’s most successful fundraisers.
Massad has received many notable honors throughout the years, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Gaylord College, OU’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Interfraternity Council Outstanding Greek Alumni Award and the Lee Allan Smith Oklahoma Legacy Award given by the Oklahoma Heritage Association.
Private gifts to establish endowed faculty chairs like the Paul D. Massad Chair and professorships are key to recruiting, retaining, and rewarding outstanding faculty and, in turn, enhancing the academic environment of the University. Because of private support, the number of endowed faculty positions at OU has increased from 100 to 578 over the past 19 years. This number includes endowed chairs and professorships, as well as Presidential Professorship endowments. Gaylord College alone has five endowed chairs, including the Massad Chair, and 10 endowed professorships.
“Paul Massad is a living legend in Gaylord College and at the University of Oklahoma,” said Gaylord College Dean Joe Foote. “We are exceptionally proud that an endowed chair will honor one of our most distinguished and respected alumni. Paul’s life work at OU represents the values and competencies that we want our students to embrace. We are a far better program because of Paul Massad’s nearly 60-year association with us.”