In a ceremony Wednesday, four faculty members were formally inducted as endowed professors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, positions that honor the professors’ achievements and stature as researchers, teachers and mentors. UConn Provost Mun Choi and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Jeremy Teitelbaum presided over the event, which was attended by department heads, professors, University staff and the families of the honorees and donors.
The event celebrated the faculty installed in these distinguished positions and honored the donors who made the professorships possible.
“What we all get from these professorships is the opportunity to do some really good work,” said Preston Britner, who plans to use his Chair to bring Connecticut officials and researchers together to explore why less than six percent of children who grow up in foster care finish college.
“Philanthropic giving benefits all aspects of University life,” Teitelbaum said. “It’s unusual to have four people to invest in one year, and we’re very happy about it.”
“Scholars are rarely afforded the opportunity to express publically their gratitude and appreciation for the essential support that has make their work possible,” said Jeffrey Shoulson, professor of literatures, cultures and languages. “So I feel especially privileged to openly give thanks for this opportunity.”
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Preston A. Britner, professor of human development and family studies, was invested as the Philip E. Austin Chair in Social Sciences. The professorship honors former UConn President Philip E. Austin, who led the University for 11 years beginning in 1996 and is widely credited with helping UConn rise to national prominence. Britner’s research explores social policy related to community-based prevention programs, with the aim of promoting health and well-being outcomes for children and families.
Jennifer Sterling-Folker, professor of political science, received the Alan R. Bennett Honors Professorship in Political Science, established in 2007 by political science alumnus Alan Bennett (CLAS ’69). Sterling-Folkeris an international relations theorist whose writing focuses on theories of international organization and global governance. Bennett, managing partner at Ropes & Gray in Washington, DC, is a 2007 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Jeffrey Shoulson, who isdirector of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, professor of literatures, cultures, and languages, and professor of English, was invested as the Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies. The Konover Chair takes its name from the two founding supporters of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Life at UConn, Doris and Simon Konover, and supports teaching and research by a leading scholar of Jewish life, history, and religion. Shoulson’s scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in the medieval and early modern periods, especially the ways in which Jews and Judaism are represented within Christian writings and Christianity influences Jewish writings.
Jerzy Weyman, professor of mathematics who joined UConn in August 2013, was the recipient of the Stuart and Joan Sidney Professorship of Mathematics. The Professorshipwas endowed by the honorees’ children: Daniel Sidney and his wife, Naomi Chesler; Raymond Sidney; Larry Sidney; and Jennifer Sidney Silva and her husband, Marco Silva. Stuart Sidney retired from the Department of Mathematics in 2009, and Joan Sidney (Ph.D., Neag School of Education) is a writer-in-residence in the English department. Weyman is an algebraist who works on commutative algebra, representation theory, algebraic geometry, and complexity theory, and has spent fall 2013 working at the University of Duisburg in Essen, Germany.
By Christine Buckley, CLAS