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Top Talent at the Table

Professor Ananya Roy lectures using a chalkboard.
Donors’ generosity for endowed chairs helps attract and retain the world’s best faculty.

The Centennial Campaign has helped UCLA reach a lot of milestones leading up to the big one: the university’s 100th birthday. Recently UCLA established its 500th endowed faculty chair.

Resources for Women’s Health

Established by donor Iris Cantor, the Iris Cantor Endowed Chair in Women’s Health was matched by a $2 million commitment from members of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center community advisory board. The chair, the second Cantor has created, will enhance the progress she has facilitated in addressing gender-based health disparities and providing world-class care for women.

The Importance of New Chairs

Faculty chairs are critical to UCLA’s continued and growing excellence. They help attract and retain the world’s best faculty, who are heavily recruited by other institutions, by supporting their scholarship and discovery.

Perhaps no one knows the significance of these recruiting tools more than Ralph Shapiro ’53, JD ’58 and Shirley Shapiro ’59, whose family, to date, has funded more than 20 endowed chairs at UCLA — more than any other donor — in a wide range of disciplines. They include the arts, dentistry, disability studies, law, nursing, pediatric medicine, and more.

A Variety of Fields

The first endowed chair established at UCLA was in the philosophy department in 1928. So far during the Centennial Campaign, UCLA has secured 132 endowed chairs, including:

  • Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry, held by Neil Garg, recognized for discovering new chemical reactions, many of which are used in medicines, and for his creative, accessible, and engaging approach to teaching.
  • Marcia H. Howard Term Chair in Literary Studies, held by Ursula Heise, a leader in the field of environmental humanities and a professor in UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the English department.
  • Mickey Katz Chair in Jewish Music, held by Mark Kligman, a renowned expert on Jewish music and a faculty member in UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and UCLA College.
  • Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History, held by Brenda Stevenson, a historian whose research focuses on the history of slavery, particularly enslaved women.

There are plenty more seats to fill as UCLA fulfills its mission to teach, research, and serve with distinction.

Published June 2019

More Stories: Arts & culture, The College, Research, David Geffen School of Medicine / Health Sciences, Environment & climate, Health & behavior, Nation, world, & society, Herb Alpert School of Music, Science & technology, School of Dentistry, School of Law, School of Nursing

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