A foundation in Maine is giving $1 million to the University of Maine to create an endowed faculty position named in honour of horror books author and alumnus Stephen King.

The Harold Alfond Foundation award will be used to create the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature in the Department of English, and a search to fill the position will begin this fall, officials said Tuesday.

University of Maine President Susan J. Hunter called the endowed chaired professorship “an exceptional gift that honours the tremendous literary legacy of UMaine’s most well-known and beloved alumnus.”

“Stephen and Tabitha King have been generous supporters of their alma mater for many years,” said Hunter. “It is now particularly rewarding to have a prestigious gift such as this that will inspire and influence current and future generations of readers and writers.”

The endowed chaired professor will help UMaine recruit and retain a faculty member who is an accomplished teacher and a scholar of literature, according to UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Emily Haddad.

King is a 1970 UMaine graduate who was awarded a National Medal of Arts last September as one of the world’s best-known authors.

The foundation says it invests in causes that “hold the promise of making enduring transformative contributions” in Maine, including education, health care and youth development.

Last fall, the Alfond Foundation also awarded a $3.9 million gift to complete the W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center on campus. The $13.8 million facility is named in honour of the philanthropist, Harold Alfond, who donated more than US$19m in gifts and pledges towards the University.

Similarly, generous support for UMaine has come from the Kings and the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation, which is devoted to promoting, strengthening and supporting Maine communities.

Associated Press

Image via AP Images.

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