The professorship was funded with a gift of $350,000 from the INB (now NBD Bank). Tom Miller, chairman of the board of INB at the time, says the decision to fund the chair arose naturally from the bank's long-standing relationship with IU. "We had been annual givers forever," says Miller, who is an IU alumnus himself and currently a board member of the IU Foundation. Given that most of the people hired by the bank have degrees in finance or accounting, and given that there was no existing finance chair, the best avenue for the gift was obvious. "We looked around and said: 'Why don't we do something meaningful'," says Miller.
The obvious candidate for the new professorship was Thakor, whose research interests were in banking and corporate finance, who had received numerous grants and awards for both research and teaching, and who had published extensively in his field.
The NBD chair (the title was recently changed to reflect the current name of the bank) has been of enormous benefit to his research efforts, says Thakor. He is free to use the earnings from the endowment for any research-related expenses, which means he can attend meetings he otherwise might miss, subscribe to journals and purchase books, pay journal submission fees, buy computer hardware and specialized software, pay mailing costs to research collaborators, and occasionally fund graduate students who are needed for special projects.
Because the whole purpose of named professorships is to attract and retain superior faculty, there are no special duties associated with the NBD chair other than to seek excellence in teaching and research. Clearly, Thakor had already set those goals for himself. --Tom Tierney