The Inaugural Endowed Professorship Celebration
|(L to R) Dean J. Larry Jameson, President Henry Bienen, Ann Lurie, and Provost Daniel Linzer
An assembly of individuals as accomplished is rarely seen on any campus. Specialists in fields as diverse as modern medicine itself, the distinguished professors who gathered at the Inaugural Endowed Professorship Celebration not only lead the Feinberg School of Medicine’s many departments, divisions, and centers, but also national consortiums and global efforts in Northwestern’s name.
In the early evening of Thursday, October 30, President Henry Bienen, Provost Daniel Linzer, Dean Larry Jameson, and notable philanthropists gathered at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center to honor the Feinberg School Professoriate as well as the legacy of individuals who established the medical school’s endowed professorship funds supporting 100 esteemed professors. Though many of the named professors in attendance had been invested at formal ceremonies in the past, honoring the entire Professoriate as a singular body marked the beginning of a new tradition in this the medical school’s sesquicentennial year.
After welcoming guests and honorees to the Hughes Auditorium, Dean Jameson invited President Bienen to the podium. The 15-year president of the University—who will step down at the end of the academic year—shared how much he cherished the professorships he was invested with during his earlier tenure at Princeton University. Lauded for his standing as a revered academic as well as a consummate leader, President Bienen stressed the importance of professorship titles. “For me, holding a named chair was just a tremendous honor,” said Bienen. “As academics, we live by these honors in many ways.”
After heralding her many accomplishments—including recently being named the recipient of the 2009 Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Humanitarian Award—President Bienen welcomed his longstanding colleague and friend, Ann Lurie, “someone who has been a global force for making life better for people everywhere,” to address the attendees.
Mrs. Lurie emphasized the importance of philanthropy from the perspective of one of the nation’s leading supporters of medical research, patient care, and global outreach. Having endowed two professorships at the medical school, Mrs. Lurie shared the great personal satisfaction she received by establishing these titles in perpetuity. “Funding an endowed professorship,” said Mrs. Lurie, “is a means by which philanthropy can play a vital role in the well being of the University.”
Ever humble yet always an advocate for action, Mrs. Lurie urged past and prospective philanthropists in the audience to make contributions now in support of the Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s very satisfying to recognize that I’ve helped create a framework for the holder of the professorship, selected by the University, to continue the process of educating people, or to continue research in a particular academic area, in perpetuity,” said Mrs. Lurie. “It’s a wonderful way to connect with the work of the University.”
Today, much of the most promising work at the University is happening thanks to the contributions of faculty invested with these professorships. Drs. Kathy Green and John Csernansky were invited to speak as representatives of the Professoriate. Dr. Green, Joseph L. Mayberry, Sr., Professor of Pathology and Toxicology, stressed how “…these titles are a mark of distinction, which signify to colleagues all over the country that this individual is among the most highly regarded at their home institution.”
A recent recruit to Northwestern, Dr. Csernansky, Lizzie Gilman Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, said “…my medallion is front and center on my desk. And when I look at it, I’m reminded that institutions become great because of the decisions and commitments made by individuals.”
In recognition of the honor bestowed upon them, Dean Jameson called each named professor to the stage to receive a Feinberg Rosette. Provost Linzer presented the rosettes, which professors would hereafter affix to their person while on campus to denote their standing in the medical Professoriate. President Bienen and Mrs. Lurie also congratulated each honoree on stage before the guests in attendance took the opportunity to applaud the endowed professors as they stood together.
At the ceremony’s close, Musicians in Medicine performed W.A. Mozart’s Quartet in A Major, K. 298. Composed of first year medical students—three of whom are enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program in pursuit of PhD and MD degrees—the group not only performed exquisitely, but also showcased the extraordinarily diverse and talented students enrolling at the medical school.
At a dinner to culminate the celebration, Provost Linzer toasted the evening’s honorees and thanked the gracious donors, past and present, who had made so much possible for the betterment of so many people. As the evening came to a close, all in attendance were surely grateful that this extraordinary collective, the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Professoriate, is making contributions to medicine here at Northwestern.