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Eight new appointments to endowed chairs

Alan Stam
Allan Stam
David Largomarsino
David Largomarsino
Cleopatra Mathis
Cleopatra Mathis
Gordon Gribble
Gordon Gribble
Douglas Irwin
Douglas Irwin
Gerd Germunden
Gerd Germunden
Mary Lou Guerinto
Mary Lou Guerinot
Peter Travis
Peter Travis

Eight Dartmouth faculty members have recently been appointed to existing or newly endowed chairs. These distinguished positions reward professors who demonstrate extraordinary scholarly achievement while bringing to their classrooms the highest levels of teaching excellence.

"By appointing professors to endowed chairs, we not only honor their individual achievements and contributions to Dartmouth but also publicly celebrate creativity and the life of the mind," said Carol Folt, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences. "These individuals are also our programmatic leaders, they advance the curriculum, they collaborate with colleagues around the world and enrich Dartmouth's intellectual community."

The College's distinctive blend of teaching and scholarship is of particular interest to all of the new chair holders. Daniel Webster Professor Allan Stam said teaching and research are complementary. "I make sure my writing informs my teaching of international politics and foreign policy," he said. "Good teaching informs scholarship by presenting professors the opportunity to cover new material in new areas."

Established in 1882, the Webster Professorship may be awarded to a distinguished faculty member in any discipline. Stam is an expert in international relations, security studies, comparative foreign policy, political bargaining, military conscription, prisoners of war and genocide.

David Lagomarsino, the first holder of the Charles Hansen Professorship, said that research plays a major role in his success as a Professor in the History Department. "Not only does research keep teaching alive, but I've found teaching helps research," he said. The Hansen Chair was created to acknowledge teaching and the advancement of liberal education. Lagomarsino's work focuses on early modern Europe, with special concentration on Spain.

The Frederick Sessions Beebe '35 Professorship in the Art of Writing was established in 1989 to provide for a professor of writing in the English Department. It honors Beebe, an attorney who was Chairman of the Board for the Washington Post. Its new holder, Cleopatra Mathis, said, "My endowed chair provides me with support and funding that I can use to pursue my writing in a manner that would not be available to me otherwise."

An award-winning author of six books of poetry, Mathis came to Dartmouth in 1982 to develop the College's Creative Writing Program.

Gordon Gribble said he is honored to be appointed the Dartmouth #1 Professor of Chemistry in the Arts and Sciences. "It recognizes my 37 years of teaching and research," he said. The chair was established in 1992 to recognize individuals who represent Dartmouth's dedication to academic excellence, regardless of department or division. Gribble, an organic chemist, will be on sabbatical in 2005-06, time he will use to write two books: Naturally Occurring Organohalogens - A Comprehensive Survey and Indole Ring Synthesis.

The support of the Robert E. Maxwell 1923 Professorship in the Arts and Sciences will help its newest occupant, Douglas Irwin, "fund class speakers for my international trade class in the Economics Department," Irwin said. "Students enjoy hearing from those 'in the trenches.'" Irwin will also use the Maxwell Chair's support to finish research on a history of U.S. trade policy from the 1770s to the present. This chair was established in 1980 as a part of what at that time was the largest financial gift made to the College by an individual.

Gerd Gemünden has been appointed the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities. Established in 1968 to support faculty members who are distinguished in both teaching and research, the chair will support him as he completes books on filmmaker Billy Wilder, exile filmmakers in Hollywood from 1933 to 1950 and Marlene Dietrich (co-edited with Mary Desjardins, Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies).

"I was honored to be named the Ronald and Deborah Harris Professor," said Mary Lou Guerinot. Filling a chair that, since 1991, has been awarded to a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in any of the sciences, Guerinot is a renowned research biologist and a powerful role model for students.

Funded by a $4.4 million National Science Foundation grant, Guerinot studies how plants take up essential minerals. Her lab is filled with student researchers and she sits on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Women in Science Project, which addresses the under-representation of women in the sciences.

Endowed professorships have a lasting influence on the College. The Henry Winkley Professorship in Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature, for example, was established in 1879 when "the academic study of English literature as a discipline was in its infancy," said the chair's new occupant, Peter Travis. "The foregrounding of 'Anglo-Saxon' as a language as well as a literature was a way of aligning English with the well-established study of classical literatures, most notably Greek and Latin," he added. Travis' interests are medieval literature and contemporary critical theory. With the support of the Winkley Professorship, he plans to complete a book on Chaucer.

Endowed professorships at Dartmouth are the foundation on which a premier academic environment is built. They offer prestige, a chance for professors to be recognized by their peers and additional funding.

"We are indebted to the many people whose generous gifts of professorships enable Dartmouth to recruit, recognize and retain preeminent scholars," said Folt. "By endowing these chairs, they provide Dartmouth with an essential means of connecting leading scholars who love to teach with motivated and energetic students. This, after all, is what makes the Dartmouth experience so exceptional."

By JOEL AALBERTS

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Last Updated: 5/30/08