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Event honors new holders of endowed chairs at VU

Jan. 29, 2015, 9:49 AM

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., far left, and Susan Wente, Ph.D., far right, with new endowed chair holders, from left, Edward R. Sherwood, M.D., Ph.D., Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, Fred H. Bess, Ph.D., David K. Dickinson, Ed.D., Dale Clark Farran, Ph.D., and David J. Hess, Ph.D. (photo by John Russell)

Six Vanderbilt University faculty members named to endowed chairs were honored for their academic achievements during a celebration Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the Student Life Center.

“Endowed chairs are among the very highest honors in academia,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. The range of contributions made by these faculty members is “incredible,” he said, “from environment to cancer to early childhood education to hearing impairment.”

Balser also recognized the donors of the endowed chairs “who’ve really invested in Vanderbilt’s tradition of discovery and excellence and the pursuit of knowledge in a profound way.”

Susan Wente, Ph.D., Provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, joined Balser in introducing the new chair holders, who are:

Fred H. Bess, Ph.D., Vickie and Thomas Flood Chair in Hearing and Speech Sciences, and director of the National Center for Childhood Deafness and Family Communication;

David K. Dickinson, Ed.D., Margaret Cowan Chair and professor of Teaching and Learning and associate dean for Research and Strategic Planning, Peabody College;

Dale Clark Farran, Ph.D., Antonio M. and Anita S. Gotto Chair in Teaching and Learning, professor of Psychology and Human Development, and senior associate director, Peabody Research Institute;

David J. Hess, Ph.D. , James Thornton Fant Chair in Sustainability Studies, professor of Sociology and director, Program on Environmental and Sustainability Studies;

Edward R. Sherwood, M.D., Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Anesthesiology and vice chair for research in the department;

Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, Anne Potter Wilson Chair in Medicine, chief of the Division of Epidemiology and director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center.

This was the 15th celebration to honor faculty members who have been named to endowed chairs. A total of 150 chair holders have been honored since the initiative to recruit and retain outstanding scholars and teachers was announced by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in August 2010.

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