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Name That Professorship

I just finished a pretty thorough reading of the April Bulletin. I enjoy the magazine very much, but something caught my eye.

In the introduction to the article “The Janitor and the Judge,” which explains the concept of “practical wisdom”—the subject of a new book by political science professor Kenneth Sharpe and psychology professor Barry Schwartz—the authors were referred to as follows: “Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action Barry Schwartz and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science Kenneth Sharpe.” In the Q&A with religion scholar Donald Swearer, I saw that he is referred to as “the Charles and Harriet Cox McDowell Professor Emeritus of Religion.” There are several more such listings.

Although I suppose that Swarthmore and other colleges are lucky to have any endowed professorships, is giving them such long names a fairly recent development? My husband and I will never have the means to endow a professorship, but when we discussed it, he commented, “If I were able to donate one, I would not want my name to be attached to it.”  I feel the same way. I am very curious to know whether Swarthmore has any endowed professorships to which the donors have asked that their name not be attached?

Susan Barker Gutterman ’59
New York

Editor’s Note: It has long been Bulletin policy to publish the full name of a professor's endowed chair as part of his or her identification. This is a means of recognizing donors—or those persons honored by the naming of a chair for them by a donor. We think it important for the Swarthmore family to remember its ancestors.

There are 38 named endowed professorships listed in the College catalog, the oldest of which was given by Isaac Clothier in 1888. The Clothier chair has been held most recently by Robert DuPlessis of the History Department, who retired in June. The latest addition to the list is the Neil R. Grabois ’57 Professorship, created in 2010 by Eugene Lang ’38 in honor of the respected mathematician, educator, and member of the Board of Managers. The Grabois chair is currently held by mathematics professor Stephen Maurer ’67.

As for Quaker modesty, old Isaac Clothier—a Friend of the old order—not only gave two professorships that bear his name but also built the cathedral-like Clothier Hall.

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