0805-Concept Paper on Supporting an Endowed Professor in Islamic Medical Education

Paper presented by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.

Vision and Objectives of the proposed endowed professorship

The long-term vision of the proposed endowed professorship is to imbue Islamic ethical values in the training of physicians of the future Islamic healthcare industry that is projected to grow phenomenally in the next 15-20 years and even outperform the Islamic banking industry.


The endowment will in its initial period empower[1] Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) while centered in Riyadh to teach, research, and share his 12 years’ Southeast Asian experience of Islamic Medical Education[2] with faculties of medicine in Western Asia, Northern Africa, and other parts of the world.


Endowed professorship: definition, purposes, and historical background

An endowed professorship is a permanent tenure academic position supported by dividends from an endowment (waqf) fund that is invested by the university such that the principal remains untouched in perpetuity[3]. The dividends from investment of the endowment provide an income stream that supports the endowed professor’s work[4] [5]. The practice of endowed professorships started over 500 years ago in England[6] and is now common at Ivy League American Universities such as Harvard[7]. The professorship, named after the donor of the endowment[8], brings prestige to the donor, the university, and the endowed professor.


Practical proposals

A comprehensive endowment agreement will be concluded between the donor and the president of the university[9]. It will be binding perpetuity on the university and the successors of the donor unless the endowment arrangement is limited to a number of years.


The endowed professor will be appointed as a professor in the university[10] [11]. The initial appointment is for 8 years[12] renewable thereafter at 4-year intervals. The university will pay salaries and benefits of the professor and his administrative and academic assistants. A budget will also be allocated for research, travel, and conferences. The endowed professor submits annual activity and financial reports to the president[13] of the university and the donor.


It is proposed that the initial endowment of SAR10-15 million be invested in the name of the university in a diversified (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, bills etc) minimal risk and safe portofolio within Saudi Arabia to yield a minimum SAR900,000 per year. Dividends above the needs for the year will be added to the principle to anticipate future inflation. The university will manage the investment portofolio if it has in-house expertise or outside expertise can be employed.



[1] The permanent tenure of the endowed professor encourages and empowers him to focus and make achievements in a specialized field of research and teaching with minimal interference from the normal duties of a university teacher.

[2] Professor Omar Hasan Kasule started the Islamic Input into the medical curriculum in 1995 and taught until 2005 at the International Islamic University in Malaysia. The program was later adopted by the University of Brunei where he has been teaching 2005-present. Other universities and hospitals in Malaysia, Pakistan, and Indonesia have adopted the program. Professor Omar travels extensively giving lectures and workshops worldwide. His writings over the period 1995-present can be found at http://omarkasule.tripod.com. The Islamic Input program involves training medical lecturers to integrate Islamic ethical and legal guidelines in their teaching and practice of medicine with the aim of producing a physician who will be able to communicate well and understand Muslim patients.

[3] The average endowment at Ivy League American universities such as Harvard University is USD3.0 million which yields an annual income stream of USD150,000 – 300,000 assuming a 5-10% rate of return on investment (ROI).

[4] This annual amount is used to the following: salaries and benefits of the endowed professor as well as supporting academic and administrative staff, equipment, professional development, travel, student support, administrative overhead or other expenses necessary to support the scholarly activities, clinical work, curriculum development, seminars and conferences, travel, and publications

[5] Some of the dividend is added to the principle so that the original endowment can grow with time.

[6] Margaret the countess of Richmond (grandmother of the future King Henry VIII) endowed the first chairs in divinity at both oxford and Cambridge Universities. King Henry VIII 50 years later endowed professorships in 5 subjects at both universities. Sir Isaac Newton held the Lucasian chair in mathematics at Cambridge university that is held more than 300 years later by the physicist Stephen Hawkins.

[7] The first endowed professorships in medicine were gifted to Harvard University by Ezekiel Hersey in 1772, ten years before the Faculty of Medicine convened. Since then, thousands of donors, through gifts large and small, have created more than 250 named endowed professorships for the Faculty

[8] The endowment can also be named after any other individual designated by the donor.

[9] The agreement covers details of the investment of the endowment, the field of research and teaching by the endowed professor, financial accountability etc.

[10] A person selected as an endowed professor must be internationally recognized in that field of endeavor with high competence in either the teaching or research dimensions

[11] An endowed professor has all the associated academic privileges and rights with the exception that his emoluments are not from the normal operational budget of the university.

[12] This long period is necessary because academic programs need sufficient time to bear fruit since they have to do with education and development of people and not producing material goods.

[13] The endowed professor shall submit an annual report of activities/accomplishments as well as financial accounting to the President of the university with copies to the dean of the faculty of medicine and the donor of the endowment. The endowed professor shall submit an annual expenditure plan to the President of the university making sure it does not exceed the expected annual income stream from the investment. The President will the authorize the expenditure and transfer the amount to a university account from which payments will be made as authorized by the endowed professor

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. May, 2008