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 NORMAN, Okla., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Students at the University of Oklahoma and business professionals soon will have the opportunity to examine and learn about the vital role of leadership in the American business place.
 Establishment of the $3.5 million endowed JCPenney Leadership Chair and Center in the OU College of Business Administration was announced today by OU and J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), officials.
 "We are pleased that JCPenney has taken the initiative to fund a leadership chair and center at the University of Oklahoma," said OU President Richard L. Van Horn. "We also are pleased that our state's education leaders had the foresight to develop a matching funds program that greatly enhances the value of such a significant contribution.
 "This endowment will help us build a comprehensive academic program that extends from the undergraduate to professional level and which generates a new body of information on leadership development," he added.
 The JCPenney Foundation is providing a $1.75 million endowment that is being matched through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Endowment Program to create the $3.5 million JCPenney Leadership Chair and Center.
 "Leadership is the key element to the future growth of any company -- including JCPenney," said W.R. Howell, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of JCPenney, in dedicating the center. "Leadership takes an active role in solving problems and bringing about change. And change is the one sure thing in this world in which we live.
 "Change and its velocity require leaders with vision and adaptability," added Howell, a Claremore native who earned a bachelor of business administration degree in 1958 from OU.
 "We at JCPenney are determined that today's youth -- our future leaders -- experience leadership and have the opportunity to develop its necessary skills," Howell said. "That is why we are pleased to endow the JCPenney Leadership Chair and Center at the University of Oklahoma."
 Richard A. Cosier, dean, and Fred E. Brown, chair in the OU College of Business Administration, noted: "This endowment is unique in its scope. It no only supports a renowned faculty member, but also has direct benefits for students and other faculty. Students, in particular, will benefit from additional opportunities for scholarships, networking with business leaders, one-to-one faculty interviews, internships, study abroad, and research projects."
 The college soon will begin to recruit the first faculty member to fill the JCPenney Leadership Chair, an endowed faculty position that Cosier said "is certain to help enhance the college's national reputation while providing Leadership students with even more opportunities for professional growth.
 "The chair and center will become a national resource in the area of leadership for business professionals and students," Cosier predicts.
 The gift from JCPenney enables the colleges to continue and expand a program initiated in 1988 to provide special leadership opportunities to a core group of business students. Gifts from the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation provided the seed money to start the program.
 "We provide our Leadership students with a broad range of opportunity and experience designed to instill vision, adaptability and the basic components of leadership," said William R. Audas, director of OU's JCPenney Leadership Center in the College of Business Administration.
 "Employees increasingly look first at our Leadership Program members when interviewing OU business graduates -- and they do this because they know that the Leadership Program is in the business of developing tomorrow's leaders."
 For more information about the JCPenney Leadership Chair and Center for Leadership Program activities, call William Audas at 405-325-2501.
 -0- 9/10/93
 /CONTACT: Duncan Muir of JCPenney, 214-431-1329/

CO: University of Oklahoma; J.C. Penney Company, Inc. ST: Oklahoma IN: SU:

TW -- NY044 -- 0790 09/10/93 13:54 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 10, 1993

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