A man wearing a suit jacket, black tshirt, and jeans stands next to a woman wearing a black, white, gold, and red line pattern. Green trees and a brick building are behind them.

UMBC receives a $1M gift plus $1M in state match to establish the Fred and Virginia Pausch Professorship in Economics

UMBC will establish a new endowed professorship in economics thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous graduate and $1 million in matching funds from the Maryland E-nnovation Initiative Fund (MEIF), announced yesterday by Maryland’s Department of Commerce. 

The funding will create the Endowed Pausch Professorship in Economics, with a focus on high-impact student mentoring, teaching, and innovative research. Funds invested will generate income each year for the research program of the Pausch Professor.

“Faculty at UMBC devote themselves to helping students grow and build a strong foundation for their future professional endeavors,” says the donor. “Through this mentoring, faculty are intentionally helping students to broaden leadership and entrepreneurship in the field of economics.”

A large group of students sit at tables four people that are standing in front of them. There are three white dry erase boards on three walls and bright white florescent lights.
David Mitch, chair and professor of economics, (standing, in a black shirt)
welcomes new students to the department.

Supporting communities

The generous spirit of Fred and Virginia Pausch inspired the creation of the Pausch Professorship. The Pausch family has a legacy of giving, and of creating opportunities for people worldwide through education. 

Fred and Virginia Pausch were from Baltimore and Virginia, respectively, and founded Up With Kids Inc., a nonprofit based in Columbia, Maryland. They created the organization to help the region’s immigrant children from non-English speaking countries to learn English. In 1998, the nonprofit built a school for girls in Thailand to help more Thai girls access education beyond elementary school.

A man wearing a grey suit and glasses stands next to a woman in a floral print dress also wearing glasses and smiling at the camera.
Fred (R) and Virginia (L) Pausch. Photo courtesy of donor.

“That was a major part of his life,” Mrs. Pausch told The Baltimore Sun when her husband died in 2006. “It was very important to him…to be able to help people figure out how to help themselves.” 

Fred Pausch’s interest in the welfare of children also led him to volunteer for and then lead the U.S.-China Educational Ventures program. The program sent American teachers to China for a month each summer to lead professional development for educators in China. The participating Chinese educators would then apply their training to teach English to Chinese children. 

Sense of purpose

“The Pausch family had one purpose,” says the UMBC donor, “to help as many people as possible in any way they could.” 

Sometimes that meant providing scholarships for education and enrichment trips. Other times it involved traveling the world to partner with schools and organizations in need of financial support to meet the needs of hundreds of children. Often, it meant opening their hearts and home to high-achieving high school and college students eligible for unique learning opportunities in the U.S. 

A large group of people gather closely for a photo on a grass field with trees in the background.
Fred Pausch, front and center, with some of the students he has supported over the years. Photo courtesy of donor.

“Funding this professorship is a way to honor their work and invest in a university that is dedicated to the next generation of leaders,” says the donor. 

Kimberly Moffitt, interim dean of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and professor of language, literacy, and culture, notes that designing the professorship has been a collaborative effort including the donor, faculty, staff, and the Maryland Department of Commerce. 

A woman with long black twisted hair wearing a bright purple dress and fuchsia, gold, and brown stone necklace and gold hoop earrings smiles at the camera.
Kimberly Moffitt.

The end result meets the donor’s greatest wish: to help support the teaching and learning of economics at UMBC and to foster strong faculty and student relationships. These supportive relationships reflect the donor’s own experience as a student at UMBC, where they connected with faculty who had a positive life-long impact on their career. 

“The process of creating this professorship speaks to the power of collaboration within CAHSS and across UMBC,” says Moffitt. “I am excited to partner with donors and other supporters who are so dedicated to building programs that broaden the reach and impact of UMBC’s teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.”

A group of four adults stand outside a building talking to each other. There are green trees, grass, a brick building, and lamp posts in the background.
(L to R) Maria Bernedo Del Carpio, assistant professor of economics; UMBC international public policy doctoral students Diego Rojas and Catherine Mata M.A. ‘28, economics; and Tim Gindling, professor of economics.

UMBC alumni and community members interested in learning more about giving to support educational opportunities or research at UMBC can visit the giving website or contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at giving@umbc.edu or 410-455-2902.

Banner image: Moffitt with Gindling. All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 unless otherwise noted.