New faculty endowed chairs celebrated

New Endowed Chairs
Ten of Vanderbilt's newly endowed chairs were celebrated Feb. 28. (Vanderbilt University)

Ten Vanderbilt University faculty members who have been named to new endowed chairs were recognized for their remarkable achievements and contributions on Feb. 28.

Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said during the ceremony at the Student Life Center that this was the first of six celebrations that will be held in 2011 to honor a total of 60 new endowed chair holders. “This is a significant moment for Vanderbilt, and our new chair holders will create ripple effects throughout the institution for years to come,” McCarty said.

The major university initiative to recruit and retain outstanding scholars and teachers with the new chairs was announced by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos last August.

“A university’s greatness is reflected in the quality of its faculty,” said Jeff Balser, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “[rquote]You are the people who are having the impact that we hope to have around the world, and we want to recognize that.[/rquote]”

The new chairs are:

  • Victor Anderson, Oberlin Theological School Chair and professor of African American and diaspora studies and religious studies;
  • Margaret Blair, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise and professor of law;
  • John W. Brock III, Monroe Carell Jr. Chair and surgeon-in-chief for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt;
  • Dai Chung, Janie Robinson and John Moore Lee Chair in Pediatrics and vice chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery;
  • Roger Cone, Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science and chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics;
  • Michael DeBaun, J.C. Peterson, M.D. Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology and director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease;
  • Yanqin Fan, Centennial Chair in Economics and professor of economics and mathematics;
  • Tong Li, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Social and Natural Sciences and chair of the Department of Economics;
  • David Wasserman, Annie Mary Lyle Chair and professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; and
  • John Weymark, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Social and Natural Sciences and vice chair of the Department of Economics.

Some of the chairs were made possible by “excellent financial management,” said McCarty, who thanked Matthew Wright, the university’s chief investment officer, for making “great things happen with our endowment.”

Other chairs are newly endowed. To the donors and their family members who had endowed new chairs, Balser said, “There are very few things you can do that have this kind of lasting impact. We’re deeply grateful for your generosity.”