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William Russell, M.D., right, embraces his father, Theodore Russell, during Mondayís endowed chair holder celebration while his mother, Georgia Russell, and colleague Revi Mathew, M.D., look on. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Event honors new endowed chair holders at VU

BY: BILL SNYDER

3/29/2012 - Nine Vanderbilt University faculty members named to endowed chairs were honored Monday during a celebration at the Student Life Center.

Their collective achievement “is, I think by any measure, extraordinary,” said Richard McCarty, Ph.D., provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, in his introductory remarks.

“The endowed chair is one of the highest academic honors you can reach at Vanderbilt,” added Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

The new chair holders are:

• Lisa Schultz Bressman, J.D., David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law

• Richard Breyer, Ph.D., Ruth King Scoville Chair in Medicine

• John Geer, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Political Science

• Jon Kaas, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Psychology

• Peter Lake, Ph.D., Martha Rivers Ingram Chair (in History)

• David Lewis, Ph.D., William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair in Political Science

• Erin O’Hara O’Connor, J.D., Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law

• William Russell, M.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair (Pediatrics)

• Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Pathology

In addition to honoring the chair holders, McCarty thanked the donors “past and present” who made the endowed chairs possible. “We celebrate today new investment, as well the growth in previous investments, legacies if you will,” he said.

“Because of the incredible management of our endowment by a number of vice chancellors for investments, most recently Matthew Wright, we now have the pleasure of taking one chair and splitting it into two,” McCarty said. “That has been something that has allowed for this increase in honors for our most distinguished faculty.”

The March 26 celebration was the sixth in a series of events to honor the contributions of Vanderbilt faculty members who have been named to endowed chairs.

In August 2010, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced a major university initiative to recruit and retain outstanding scholars and teachers.

As part of the initiative, he said the University would increase by 60 the number of endowed chair holders within two years.

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