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Presidential Chairs support, retain outstanding faculty

A Wake Forest Presidential Chair supports recruiting and retaining faculty who are both outstanding researchers in their field as well as dedicated teachers.

President Nathan Hatch announced the Presidential Chair initiative in 2012 – an initiative made possible through Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest. The initial goal to establish 10 chairs has been met.

“An endowed chair is an enduring tribute to the person who established it and is the highest academic award that can be bestowed on a faculty member,” Hatch said. “Our Presidential Chair program seeks to reward, retain and recruit those teacher-scholars who most embody the ideals that Wake Forest has for faculty: brilliant and committed scholars who have a profound ability and commitment to teach and mentor students.”

For the first $1 million donated to each Presidential Chair, the University matches those funds to provide additional support for faculty. Four of the 10 chairs have been named to faculty.

  • The Rubin Chair of Jewish and Israeli Studies – established by Mike (MALS ’13) and Debbie (MAEd ’83, MALS ’05) Rubin of Winston-Salem. Debbie, a trustee, worked as a counselor in the University Counseling Center for several years; held by Professor Barry Trachtenberg, department of History.
  • The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology – established through the family foundation of Wake Forest parent Andrew Sabin (P ‘17) to support environmental programs around the world; held by Professor Miles Silman, department of Biology.
  • The Thomas W. Smith Foundation Presidential Chair in Business Ethics – supports a faculty member committed to the exploration of the relationship between business, government and society; held by Jim Otteson, executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, School of Business.
  • The Inmar Presidential Chair of Analytics at the School of Business – established by the Winston-Salem-based company that is known for operating intelligent commerce networks; held by Jeffrey Camm, Associate Dean of Business Analytics, School of Business
  • The Donna A. Boswell Presidential Chair of Health Care Innovation – established by Boswell (’72, MA ’74), a university trustee, to promote teaching and scholarship that fosters a more comprehensive understanding of the political and economic factors that promote innovation in health care and health care delivery.
  • The David C. Darnell Presidential Chair in Principled Leadership – established by Bank of America as a retirement gift to Darnell following a 36-year career.
  • The William T. Wilson, III, Presidential Chair for Business Law – established by Wilson, a 1980 law school graduate who is a local attorney best known for his work in commercial real estate.
  • The Katherine and Dickerson Wright Presidential Chair in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship – established by Wake Forest parents who were founding partners of the Office of Personal and Career Development. Kathy, a University Trustee, serves on the Wake Will Campaign CORE Committee and the Wake Will Campaign California Bay Area Regional Committee.
  • The Burchfield Presidential Chair of Political Economy – established by Bobby Burchfield (’76), a former vice chair of the board of trustees and a prominent Washington, D.C., attorney
  • The Larry J. and LeeAnn Merlo Presidential Chair for Communications and Entrepreneurship – established by the Merlos, Wake Forest parents. As president and CEO of CVS Health, Larry has taken strong steps in his organization’s commitment to public health.

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