Brigham Young University is seeking $50 million in donations to establish endowed scholarships and professorships, BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland announced at Thursday night's President's Club banquet.

"The answer tonight is the announcement of a $50 million scholarship endowment fund, which we intend to pursue for your children, your children's children, and your children's children's children," Holland told the audience, many of whom are BYU's major donors.The $50 million project would set aside $40 million to establish endowed academic scholarships to attract top students with scholarships competitive with those offered by the nation's top universities. The remaining $10 million would be used for endowed professorships.

For Holland, a need for increased scholarship availability strikes a personal chord with the university president, himself a scholarship recipient as a BYU undergraduate student.

"I do not think I could have come to BYU without a scholarship. I don't know if that has mattered to you, but it has mattered to me . . .," said Holland, who several times had to choke back his emotions. "It was an investment in me that somebody else made a long time ago."

Increased scholarships in quantity and quality would ensure the educating of BYU's future students. "It's your sons and daughters, your grandsons and granddaughters they're the magic of BYU."

The nation's largest private university with an enrollment of 27,000, BYU is sponsored and funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Holland cited the LDS Church's rapid growth worldwide as requiring more and more monetary attention, with BYU needing to look for financial support in scholarship as well as other future enhancements more from private sources.

Of the financial dependence on the LDS Church, Holland said BYU should look to be beneficial to the church's budget instead of detract from it. "We can't continue to ask for an increasingly disproportionate amount of that budget. We can't with good conscience do it."

Four categories of annual scholarships have been proposed: exceptional scholars, a minimum of 100 full-support endowed scholarships; potential leaders/scholars, a minimum of 100 four-year tuition scholarships; consistent performers, 100 two- and three-year tuition scholarships; and special consideration, 100 two-year scholarships.

Investment opportunities for scholarship donors include:

Named endowed scholarships in honor of a family member, friend or association. An endowment of $25,000 will fund one four-year scholarship every fourth year or a one-year scholarship annually, while a $100,000 endowment will fund one four-year scholarship each year.

Named endowed scholarship societies. An endowment of $1 million or more could potentially award multiple scholarships each year as well as fund awards for deserving faculty members.

Karl G. Maeser Scholarship Society. The association provides academic scholarships and awards through the pooling of individual gifts, with four society membership levels of annual contributions ranging from $250 to an excess of $10,000.

Endowed professorships. A minimum of 10 endowed professorships for outstanding teachers would help strengthen BYU's undergraduate instructional program.