Faculty Endowed Chairs Presentation

August 30, 2023

An Endowed Chair, which funds a faculty position, is created by a financial gift to the College, often in a designated field of study or stage of career. It is typically named for either the donor or for someone being honored by the donor. Being named to an endowed Chair is a significant honor because it recognizes the importance of the recipient’s scholarly or creative work and their contributions to the College, including valuable campus leadership.

Today, I have the great pleasure of announcing seven new appointments to faculty Endowed Chairs.

The Isabelle Hyman Chair, established in 2008

The recipient of the Isabelle Hyman Chair is Professor of Art Tobias Armborst.

Professor Armborst joined the Vassar faculty in 2008. He is Co-Founder and Principal of Interboro Partners, an architecture, planning, and research firm that has won many awards for its innovative projects. His work has been exhibited widely, including at the Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt. Professor Armborst is the author of The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion, and has lectured widely in North America and Europe. He is Chair of the Art Department and has served as Director of the Urban Studies program and as Tatlock Chair in Multidisciplinary Studies.

The Mary Conover Mellon Chair, established in 1961

The recipient of the Mary Conover Mellon Chair is Professor of Music Kathryn Libin.

Professor Libin began teaching at Vassar in 1990. Her research focuses on Mozart and his contemporaries, music and Jane Austen, and the history of early keyboard instruments. Professor Libin is the author of two volumes in The Lobkowicz Collections Music Series and she led a research team that catalogued the music collection of the Lobkowicz Library near Prague. She has served as editor of Early Keyboard Journal, President of the American Musical Instrument Society, and President of the Mozart Society of America. Professor Libin has served as Chair of the Music Department, and served on all three of Vassar’s major faculty governance committees.

The Maria Mitchell Chair, established in 1886

The recipient of the Maria Mitchell Chair is Associate Professor of Astronomy Colette Salyk.

Professor Salyk joined the Vassar faculty in 2015. She studies the formation of planets using both ground- and space-based telescopes. Professor Salyk is co-author of many scholarly papers, as well as the textbook Introductory Notes on Planetary Science: The Solar System, Exoplanets, and Planet Formation. In addition, she is the recipient of several prestigious grants, including a NASA grant, an NSF grant, and a recent James Webb Space Telescope observing grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Professor Salyk is the Director of the Class of 1951 Observatory and is currently Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department.

The Jane Baker Nord ’42 Chair, established in 2022

The recipient of the newly-established Jane Baker Nord ’42 Chair in Media Studies is Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Sociology William Hoynes.

Professor Hoynes joined the Vassar faculty in 1992. He is a cultural sociologist who studies contemporary media in the US, with a focus on journalism, the media industry, and practices of democratic citizenship. Professor Hoynes is the author of many books and articles on US media, including the award winning books Public Television for Sale and The Business of Media, as well as the textbook Media/Society, currently in its 7th edition. Professor Hoynes has served as Chair of the Sociology Department and Director of both the Media Studies and the American Studies programs.

The Mary Clark Rockefeller Assistant Professor Chair, established in 2001

The recipient of the rotating Mary Clark Rockefeller Chair is Assistant Professor of Earth Science Laura Haynes.

Professor Haynes joined the Vassar faculty in 2020. She is a geochemist who studies climate and ocean change throughout Earth’s history. Last year, Professor Haynes and her colleagues received an NSF grant to acquire a Scanning Electron Microscope and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometer for research, teaching, and public outreach. In 2020, she sailed on an International Ocean Discovery expedition, where the team recovered a new deep-sea sediment record of South Pacific Ocean conditions during a period of profound planetary warmth 50 million years ago. Professor Haynes serves on the Environmental Studies program’s steering committee and teaches courses on Environmental Geology and Biogeochemistry.

The Anne McNiff Tatlock ’61 Chair in Multidisciplinary Studies, established in 2012

The recipient of the rotating Tatlock Chair is Professor of English Molly McGlennen.

Professor McGlennen joined the Vassar faculty in 2006. She is a poet and scholar of Native American literature. Professor McGlennen is the author of two collections of poems, Fried Fish and Flour Biscuits and Our Bearings, as well as the award winning book Creative Alliances: The Transnational Designs of Indigenous Women’s Poetry. Professor McGlennen has served as the intellectual center of Vassar’s correlate sequence in Native American Studies, a curricular project she helped to initiate during her post-doctoral fellowship. In addition, she has served as Director of the American Studies Program, House Fellow in Cushing, and as a core member of the Native American Advisory Committee.

The Elizabeth Stillman Williams Chair, established in 1961

The recipient of the Elizabeth Stillman Williams Chair is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Ming-Wen An.

Professor An joined the Vassar faculty in 2008. She is a biostatistician whose research—working collaboratively with other statisticians, medical doctors, and research scientists—focuses on problems in cancer clinical trials. She has published scholarly papers in a range of prestigious journals, including the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Letters, and Cancer Treatment Reviews. Professor An has served on the self-study steering committee for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and as Chair of the Committee on Committees, and she is currently among the core group leading Vassar’s Data Science and Society curricular initiative.

All seven of these accomplished faculty members have distinguished themselves as scholars, teachers, and campus leaders who support students and the College itself in a variety of roles. I am honored to recognize them here today.

I invite the recipients to please rise to accept our acknowledgement, appreciation, and applause.

Thank you.

—Elizabeth H. Bradley, President, Vassar College