Though Louise Kinney did not graduate from LSU, she has a deep appreciation for what it produces.

“I really enjoy the music,” she said. “I don’t have any music education of my own. I just love music.” Her love for the university’s music and theatre programs shows through her season subscriptions to LSU Opera and Swine Palace, her frequent attendance at the School of Music’s concerts, and certainly through the scholarship and two professorships she supports.

“It’s such an asset to the community,” Kinney said of the university, adding that private funding for LSU is necessary to supplement state funds.

Kinney’s late husband’s career with ExxonMobil makes her contributions eligible for the company’s matching gift program. “That makes it easy to donate,” she said. “It makes [contributions] go a long way.”

Over a three-year period of consistent giving and matching funds from Exxon and Louisiana, the couple was able to establish the Louise and Kenneth Kinney Professorship. The award is one of the first to benefit a professor in the Department of Theatre.

Femi Euba, playwright and professor of theatre and English, is the second recipient of the award. Euba, who has been teaching at LSU for 25 years of his 40-year career, shared that receiving the professorship has benefited him significantly. Because of the award, he has been able to conduct research in libraries outside of Baton Rouge; purchase up-to-date equipment for his writing and research; and supplement departmental travel funds for literary conferences.

Andreas Giger, professor of musicology, is the most recent recipient of the couple’s second endowed professorship, the Louise and Kenneth L. Kinney Professorship in Opera. “The professorship primarily means a recognition of my work at LSU as a teacher and scholar,” he shared of the award’s significance. Giger said he is able to pursue research with fewer financial constraints and offer students valuable travel and networking opportunities.

Both professors express gratitude to Kinney for her deep appreciation for, and dedication to, the arts. “I felt like the arts are always the low man on the totem pole,” Kinney said, adding that she also supports the College of Engineering, Kenneth’s alma mater. “I feel like the arts are so important, but they’re so often neglected. I feel, without the arts, we’re a poorer society.”

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2014.