Silman, Otteson named to new endowed Presidential Chairs

Five new Presidential Chairs to recruit, retain and reward outstanding faculty who embody the teacher-scholar ideal have been announced by Wake Forest University and two faculty members have been named.



The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology has been awarded to professor Miles Silman, a conservation biologist who has been a leader in the sustainability movement since beginning his doctoral research more than 20 years ago.

His work centers on understanding species distributions, biodiversity, and the response of forest ecosystems to climate and land use changes over time. Silman, who joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1998, is co-founder of the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group and is also founding director of the Wake Forest Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES).



James Otteson has been named The Thomas W. Smith Foundation Presidential Chair in Business Ethics. Otteson joined the faculty in 2013 as executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism and Teaching Professor of Political Economy.

His scholarship focuses on political economy, political philosophy, history and philosophy of economics, and eighteenth-century moral and political thought. He is an expert on Adam Smith, on eighteenth-century political and moral philosophy, on the moral foundations of capitalism, and on the comparative evaluation of competing systems of political economy.

“An endowed chair is a magnificent gift to a university because it supports outstanding faculty in perpetuity, it is the highest academic award that can be bestowed on a faculty member, and it is an enduring tribute to the person who established it,” said Hatch.

The other new Presidential Chairs include:

The Donna A. Boswell Presidential Chair of Health Care Innovation
The Inmar Presidential Chair of Analytics
The Larry J. and LeeAnn Merlo Presidential Chair for Communications and Entrepreneurship

Previously announced chairs, also yet to be named, include the Burchfield Presidential Chair of Political Economy, established by Bobby Burchfield, a 1976 Wake Forest graduate and a prominent Washington, D.C., attorney, and the Rubin Chair of Jewish and Israeli Studies, established by Mike and Debbie Rubin of Winston-Salem, who both earned graduate degrees from Wake Forest.