November 10, 2011

New endowed chair holders honored for achievements

Featured Image

Richard McCarty, Ph.D., top left, and Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., top right, at Monday’s event with new chair holders (front row, from left) Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D., David Piston, Ph.D., David Kosson, Ph.D., Arthur Fleischer, M.D., and J.B. Ruhl, Ph.D., J.D., and (back row, from left) Sohee Park, Ph.D., Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., Sankaran Mahadevan, Ph.D., Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Ph.D., Kenneth Catania, Ph.D., and Larry Isaac, Ph.D. (photo by Tommy Lawson)

New endowed chair holders honored for achievements

The outstanding academic achievements of 11 faculty members who have been named to endowed chairs were praised during a celebration Monday at the Student Life Center.

“We’ve been conducting these ceremonies for about a year now. Some of you will recall the Chancellor in his fall faculty convocation a year ago announced that we will be announcing 60 endowed chairs over the next few years,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, who emceed the program with Richard McCarty, Ph.D., Provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“With this ceremony we will have done 45 of those 60, so we are well on our way to completing his goal.

“In a season of giving thanks it is fitting that we take this opportunity to thank the faculty being recognized today for their incredible contributions to the Vanderbilt community, which are broad and far-reaching into society.

“These are individuals who truly provide national and global leadership in their disciplines,” Balser said.

The Nov. 7 celebration marked the fifth in a series of events to honor the contributions of Vanderbilt chair holders.

The new chairs are:

Kenneth Catania, Ph.D., Stevenson Chair in Biological Sciences

Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., H. William Scott Jr. Chair in Surgery

Arthur Fleischer, M.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair

Larry W. Isaac, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Sociology

David Kosson, Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair

Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Ph.D., Orrin H. Ingram Chair in Engineering

Sankaran Mahadevan, Ph.D., John R. Murray Sr. Chair

Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D., Frederick B. Rentschler II Chair

Sohee Park, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Psychology

David Piston, Ph.D., Louise B. McGavock Chair

J.B. Ruhl, Ph.D., J.D., David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law

The role played by donors in endowing chairs over the generations has been crucial, Balser said, as their efforts represent both new investment and gifts made many years ago.

“At the core they are all focused on making it possible for us to recruit and to retain leading scholars and teachers in their fields, creating a ripple effect that touches all the corners of the institution,” Balser said.

Approximately 150 colleagues, friends and family members of the honorees turned out for the ceremony and reception.