September 28, 2011

New group of faculty endowed chairs celebrated

Ten of Vanderbilt’s new endowed chairs were praised as leaders in their fields and on campus during a Sept. 26 ceremony at the Student Life Center.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine Jeff Balser (back row, far left) and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Richard McCarty (back row, far right) with the 10 endowed chairs who were honored Sept. 26. (Tommy Lawson/Vanderbilt)

During a ceremony at the Student Life Center, 10 Vanderbilt faculty members who have been named to endowed chairs were praised for outstanding leadership in their academic fields and also on campus.

“This is a fantastic celebration of accomplishment on the part of our honorees today,” said Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “These chair holders play a critical role through their work with students, fellows and faculty colleagues in making Vanderbilt a great university. They also have vital roles to play in the translation of discoveries to the bedside.”

The Sept. 26 celebration marked the fourth in a series of events to honor the contributions of Vanderbilt chair holders.

Jeff Balser, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, noted that the endowed chairs have achieved a step beyond the ranking of full professor. He and McCarty called each of the honorees to the stage to be recognized for their impressive achievements.

The new chairs are:

Balser and McCarty thanked the generous donors for their support. Among those in attendance was Michael J. Burry, a 1997 graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. He and his wife, Anh-Thi, established the Burry Chair in Cognitive Development in the Department of Pediatrics.

“The chairs we celebrate today represent both new investments, meaning donations in just the past few years, as well as gifts from many years ago,” McCarty said. He credited Matthew Wright, the university’s chief investment officer, with playing an important role in Vanderbilt’s success in establishing chairs with major gifts, in some cases made decades ago.

The major university initiative to recruit and retain outstanding scholars and teachers with the news chairs was announced by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in August 2010.