In 2014, the University of Rochester hit a significant milestone in The Meliora Challenge, a comprehensive fundraising campaign: 80 newly established endowed professorships.

On reaching the goal, then-president Joel Seligman said, “Just as great cathedrals are built brick by brick, great universities are built professorship by professorship.”

That sentiment is rooted in the fundamental value of an endowed professorship to Rochester’s faculty. They help ensure we are able to continually attract and retain the brilliant researchers, scholars, and teachers who constitute our faculty by enabling us to provide competitive salaries, benefits, and critical funding for research. But most importantly, they are a perpetual resource.

New faculty appointees

The endowed professorships that were created during—and well before—The Meliora Challenge are still providing faculty support today—three of which received new appointees in the first half of 2023.

James Palis, a professor of pediatrics was jointly appointed as the Northumberland Trust Professor in Pediatrics, established by an anonymous donor. Palis, who will retain his appointment as professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, studies hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the production of blood cells throughout life.

Douglas Portman, a professor of biomedical genetics, was jointly appointed as the Donald M. Foster, M.D. Professor in Biomedical Genetics, established in recognition of the late Donald Foster ’50M (MD). Portman, who will retain his appointments as a professor of neuroscience and biology in the School of Arts & Sciences, examines the genetic control of sex differences in neurobiology and disease.

Laurie Steiner, an associate professor of pediatrics, was appointed as the Lindsey Distinguished Professor for Pediatric Research, endowed by microbiologist Porter Anderson Jr. Steiner’s laboratory studies how specific DNA sequences, DNA binding proteins, and chromatin structure interact during normal erythropoiesis.

Faculty futures with Boundless Possibility

As Rochester looks forwards, one of the core beliefs we will be drawing on is our commitment to strengthen our reputation as a global research university by positioning ourselves to attract the best faculty, students, staff, researchers, partners, and funding opportunities.

It should come as no surprise that a key objective of Boundless Possibility, the University’s new strategic plan, is to grow, retain, and develop a diverse faculty within our areas of distinction. New endowed professorships will undoubtedly contribute to how fully we realize objective.

goal addressed

Research excellence and global reputation