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Endowed Chairs

An endowed chair is a distinction awarded by the University of California, Davis to a faculty member or cooperative extension specialist in recognition of past and potential contributions to the individual's academic and research discipline. In addition to the honor given to the individual, an endowed chair provides funding to support his or her teaching, research, and service responsibilities.

Endowed chairs are important tools for helping UC Davis remain a world-class university over the long-term and they are considered prestigious honors for faculty and extension specialists. They help us attract the brightest teachers and researchers, while also serving as retention tools; top-notch faculty members at UC Davis frequently receive offers from other universities around the world. 

It is the policy of UC Davis to attract and sustain outstanding scholars for key positions of faculty leadership through the establishment of endowed chairs. Endowed chairs may be held by distinguished scholars at the level of associate professor, full professor or specialist in cooperative extension. A specialist in cooperative extension may not hold an endowed professorship, but may hold an endowed chair, if appropriate. The holder of an endowed chair shall contribute to the scholarly activity and effective functioning of the academic unit in which he/she resides and, through teaching, seminars, or other intellectual contact with students and external land-grant stakeholders, shall add to the enrichment of the academic life of the campus community as a whole.

Endowed chairs are made possible only by donors who give generously to achieve the goals outlined above. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences currently stewards funds that comprise 23 endowed chairs.

 

 

The Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Professorship in Enology and Viticulture
Department of Viticulture and Enology

Purpose:
To support excellence in research for a faculty member pursuing scientific advancement in the fields of enology and viticulture.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1978 through generous donations by the Ernest Gallo Trust

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Linda Bisson, 1998 to present
http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty.php?id=2

Dr. Bisson's main area of research is the investigation of utilization of carbon and energy sources in yeast, with a specific focus on how eukaryotic cells detect energy sources in their environment and prioritize use when presented with a mixture of substrates. She is using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system in which to conduct these studies, because of the ease of genetic manipulation of this organism. Bisson’s research is important from a fundamental perspective, in adding to knowledge of the mechanisms of regulation of metabolism, but also has broad application in both enology and medicine. Stuck or incomplete fermentations are a problem in winemaking, caused by the failure of the yeast to consume all of the available sugar. Work conducted in her laboratory has led to the identification of the first eukaryotic glucose sensor, the SNF3 gene, and to the discovery of a large multigene family of hexose transporters, the HXT (HeXose Transporter) genes of Saccharomyces. Bisson has recently developed functional genomic technologies for the analysis of wine strains of Saccharomyces which has lead to the identification of key stress markers. Her contributions to the advancement of knowledge of yeast biology in the natural grape juice environment was acknowledged by the award of Honorary Research Lecturer for the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society of Enology and Viticulture, the highest award of this scientific society.

 

The Melvin D. Androus Endowed Professorship for Rice Weed Control
Department of Plant Sciences

Purpose:
The purpose of this professorship is to provide a permanent source of funding for both basic and mission-oriented weed control research in rice and related cropping systems for the California rice industry. Melvin D. Androus was manager of the California Rice Research Board from its inception in 1969 until 1997. His leadership in California's rice research and promotion effort has been critical to that industry's success and survival. Androus served as chair of the California Commodity Commission for 13 years and represented California on the National Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) executive committee. He has served on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Dean's Advisory Council for 10 years. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, the California Rice Research Board created an endowment named the Melvin D. Androus Professorship for Rice Weed Control.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1996 through generous donations made by the California Rice Research Board

Current Chair Holder:
Associate Professor Albert J. Fischer, 1997 to present
http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/veghome/Faculty/fischer/fischer.htm

Dr. Fischer is the inaugural holder of the Melvin D. Androus Endowed Professorship for Rice Weed Control. The main direction of his strategic research is to develop basic knowledge on rice-weed interactions and herbicide resistance leading to the development of integrated weed management strategies for rice with emphasis on crop interference.

 

The Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professorship in Malting and Brewing Science
Department of Food Science and Technology

Purpose:
To support a faculty member of preeminence teaching and researching the area of malting and brewing science

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1996 through generous donations by the Anheuser-Busch Foundation

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Charles Bamforth, 1999 to present
http://foodscience.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/cbamforth

Dr. Bamforth’s current research program focuses primarily on the wholesomeness of beer, including studies on the psychophysics of beer perception, on polyphenols as anitoxidants and on the residues from non-starchy polysaccharide digestion that constitute soluble fiber and potential prebiotics in beer. Research in the laboratory also embraces the enzymology of the malting and brewing process, foam stability, prevention of oxidation in wort and beer, beer flavor and alternative paradigms for beer production.

 

The James G. Boswell Endowed Chair in Soil Science
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Purpose:
This chair was established through a gift from the James G. Boswell Foundation, which was founded in 1947 in Pasadena, California, with the objectives to support agricultural activities, including teaching and research. The James G. Boswell Foundation was founded by the Boswell family, which at this time had already had a significant impact on California’s agriculture. The family remains a powerful player in the state and has a vested interest in making sure that the industry remains viable. The James G. Boswell Endowed Chair in Soil Science is one aspect of the Boswell’s effort to ensure that California’s agriculture stays on the cutting edge.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 2005 with a generous gift from the James G. Boswell Foundation.

Current Chair Holder:
This chair is currently vacant.

 

The Frank H. Buck, Jr. Endowed Chair in Agricultural Business
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Purpose:
The Buck family has been involved in agricultural production in California for over 100 years. To pay tribute to her family’s long heritage in agriculture and to honor her late husband, Congressman Frank H. Buck, Jr., Eva Benson Buck endowed a Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The purpose of the Chair is to conduct applied agricultural economics research to benefit production agriculture in California.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1990 through generous gifts from Eva Benson Buck.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Daniel Sumner, 1991 to present
http://www.agecon.ucdavis.edu/

In addition to serving as a professor of agricultural and resource economics, Dr. Sumner is the director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, based at UC Davis. His research and writing focuses particularly on the consequences of farm and trade policy on agriculture and the economy, including commodity programs, trade policy, human resources and regulations. Sumner’s current emphasis is on agricultural trade in the Pacific Rim (especially Korea), dairy industry issues and rice policy.

 

The L. D. Davis Endowed Professorship in Pomology
Department of Plant Sciences

Purpose:
The purpose of this professorship is to provide a permanent source of funding for research that will enhance, accelerate, and ensure the development of new and improved canning peaches, processing peaches, and peach-like varieties primarily adapted to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys of California, using appropriate techniques of plant hybridization and genetic manipulation calculated to provide the greatest varietal improvement, gain, and benefit to the California peach industry at the least cost and in the shortest time.

Year Established and Funding:
1993 through generous donations from the California Cling Peach Growers Advisory Board

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Thomas Gradziel, 1993 to present
http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/pomology/personnel/faculty/gradziel.htm
Dr. Gradziel’s research focuses on the development of genetic elements of integrated solutions to the serious problems facing the Prunus tree crop industries brought about by losses of agri-chemicals, labor, and good crop land. Three areas have been identified where genetic improvements offer promise for resolving production problems: brown rot of clingstone peach, aflatoxin contamination of almond, and pollination efficacy in almond. He also examines the modification of fruit and tree structure, tree developmental periods, and analyzes the risks and opportunities of chimeras in vegetatively propagated crops. Gradziel is affiliated with both the Genetics and Plant Biology graduate groups.

The Daniel B. DeLoach Endowed Chair in Agricultural Economics
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Purpose:
Through his estate, Dr. Daniel Barton DeLoach established an endowed chair for the purpose of conducting research and teaching the economics of transporting agricultural and related products. Upon his death, DeLoach also gave generously to support undergraduate scholarships for students pursuing degrees in agricultural economics. In 1958, after a successful career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in which he rose to Chief of the Margins and Cost Branch, DeLoach became a UC professor of agricultural economics, first serving at UCLA and then at UC Davis until he retired in 1971.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1994 by the Daniel Barton DeLoach Trust.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Jeffrey Williams, 1998 to present
http://www.agecon.ucdavis.edu/

Dr. Williams’ research falls into two main categories: price relationships among markets and the institutional features of markets. Williams studies the arbitrage connections for the same commodity (or financial instrument) among different locations or different delivery dates; especially when a temporary shortfall or surplus strains the transport, storage, or processing sectors. Regarding markets as institutions, he is interested in those that develop to deal with the variability in commodity supplies, such as swap markets and futures markets. Williams has a major study underway on the liquidity of the Tokyo Grain Exchange's system of auction markets.

 

The John and Joan Fiddyment Endowed Chair in Agriculture
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Purpose:
John Fiddyment, descended from Placer County farm pioneers dating back nearly 150 years, is the great-grandson of Elizabeth Jane who began farming as a widow in 1856. The Fiddyment Chair in Agriculture will support research and teaching in the spirit of the Fiddyment Family tradition of agriculture.

Year Established and Funding:
In 2004, John and Joan Fiddyment provided substantial initial gifts to establish a new research fund and subsequently provided additional gifts to increase the total level of the fund to endowment status.

Current Chair Holder:
Recruitment for inaugural chair holder anticipated for academic year 2007-2008.

 

The Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Purpose:
Robert (Bob) Hagan challenged those interested in sound water policy to make a long-term investment in the university. He saw a need for the academic community to provide additional assistance in this field and outlined how he would like UC Davis to serve decision makers in the water community. In keeping with his vision, the faculty member holding the Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy will serve at the university to develop and apply new methods and approaches to the resolution of water problems through innovative combinations of science, policy and management; respond to inquiries from concerned persons and groups such as water district directors and staff, elected officials, state and federal government, agriculture, business and other special interest groups; facilitate access to information and to experts; and bring information needs to the attention of appropriate people and groups that may lead to expanded or modified research activities of greater value-added to the public.

Year Established and Funding:
Before he died in July 2002, Bob Hagan personally pledged toward an endowment for this position and challenged the water industry to match it. This pledge was fulfilled and his gift was matched 1:1 by individuals, water agencies, businesses, and philanthropic foundations.  The endowed specialist position was officially established in March 2005.

Current Chair Holder:
Recruitment for inaugural chair holder underway during academic year 2006-2007.

 

The W. K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Sustainability Institute

Purpose:
The W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair is Sustainable Food Systems that will provide leadership as director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute and UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.  The holder of this chair will leverage these entities and his or her own research and teaching to foster a safe, healthy, and accessible food supply for Californian’s while applying UC Davis’ resources toward building a national collaborative network of leaders in the field of sustainability.

Year Established and Funding:
A major gift was received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in May 2005. The endowed chair was officially established in July 2006.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Tom Tomich is the inaugural chair holder. Tomich holds a joint faculty appointment in the Community Studies and Development Unit (Department of Human and Community Development) and in the Environmental Science and Policy department. He will assume his responsibilities in January 2007.

Dr. Tomich, a California-trained agricultural economist with a doctorate in food systems research, comes to UC Davis after serving as global coordinator of the Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn (ASB) Program, which is hosted by the World Agroforestry Center, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. During his 12 years with the World Agroforestry Centre, Tomich has worked with the ASB Program's long-term collaborative partnerships in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia to raise the productivity and income of rural households without increasing deforestation or undermining the environment.

The John E. Kinsella Endowed Chair in Food, Nutrition and Health
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Purpose:
To support research excellence in the interactions of food and diet on health

Year Established and Funding:
Established in1994 through generous donations from the Kraft General Foods Co.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Andrew Waterhouse, 2003 to present
http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty.php?id=14
Dr. Waterhouse’s research activity focuses on the chemistry of a class of natural phytochemicals called the phenolic compounds. He addresses two types of effects, those that are important to the taste of wine, and those that relate to health effects of wine consumers. In cases, Waterhouse and his team collaborate with others who can help utilize the chemical data and assistance to advantage and vice versa. In the area of wine quality, his current interest is in the effect of oxidation on wine chemistry, and how this oxidation affects important quality parameters of wine, such as taste and color. Waterhouse has been studying micro-oxygenation and its effect on wine color and tannins. He is also testing some new theories on wine oxidation chemistry.

The Will W. Lester Endowed Chair in Pomology
Department of Plant Sciences

Purpose:
In 1986, Will W. Lester established an endowed chair to advance research in the field of Pomology. Mr. Lester received his undergraduate degree in horticulture from UC Davis in 1940. Following his service during World War II, he resumed his role as an orchardist with Lester & Lester in the Santa Clara Valley and became an active cooperator with UC’s Cooperative Extension Service. He developed new irrigation methods and innovative practices in fruit drying and field tested newly developed insecticides. An active volunteer, he served as both Director of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association and Trustee of the UC Davis Foundation.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1986 through generous donations by Will W. Lester.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Eduardo Blumwald, 2000 to present
http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/Pomology/personnel/faculty/blumwald.htm

Dr. Blumwald’s research career has focused on how plants respond and adapt to harsh environmental conditions such as drought, cold, and salty soils or water and includes examining biotic and abiotic stressors. In 2001 Blumwald and colleagues announced a genetically engineered tomato plant that thrives in salty irrigation water. He is continuing this research in hopes of developing other salt-tolerant crops that will be useful for agricultural production in areas of the world that have salty irrigation water and salt-damaged soils.

The Mars, Inc. Endowed Chair in Developmental Nutrition
Department of Nutrition

Purpose:
The Mars, Inc. chair holder will focus on research and information dissemination in the area of developmental nutrition, specifically the influence of diet on embryonic and fetal development. Correction of nutritional deficiencies during early in utero development could result in marked reductions of pregnancy complications and birth defects.

Year Established and Funding:
This chair was established in the spring of 2005 from gifts entirely provided by Mars. Inc. 
The chair fund corpus was part of a much larger, transforming gift from Mars to UC Davis.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Carl Keen, 2005 to present
http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/faculty/keen.html

Dr. Keen's research group has three main areas of activities: The influence of diet on embryonic and fetal development; the study of gene-nutrient interactions, with an emphasis on how subtle changes in cell mineral concentrations influence the expression of select genes; and the study of how diet influences oxidant defense systems, and as a consequence the occurrence of cellular oxidative damage. The above research themes are integrated, and approached through a combination of in vitro and in vivo models, including the study of human subjects.

 

The Louis P. Martini Endowed Chair in Viticulture
Department of Viticulture and Enology

Purpose:
The Martini chair honors the memory of Louis Peter Martini, the pioneer winemaker who studied viticulture and enology at UC Davis, and allows for excellence in research in the field of viticulture.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1989 through generous gifts from the Martini Family and Winery.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor M. Andrew Walker, 2000 to present
http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty.php?id=13

Dr. Walker is an internationally known grape geneticist who has been breeding grapes on campus since 1989 whose research involves the development of rootstocks and studying the genetic basis of resistance to soil-borne pests. Walker is also helping breed new grape varieties with resistance to Pierce’s disease, which can devastate harvests of the fruit.

 

The John B. Orr Endowed Chair in Environmental Plant Sciences
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Purpose:
This endowed chair was established through a bequest from John B. Orr, a former UC Davis Maintenance Shop employee.  His intent was to “serve UC Davis and its students….”  Half of his financial gift was to be dedicated to the plant sciences, and half to the environmental sciences.  This endowed chair combines both areas into one important gift.

Year Established and Funding:
A generous planned (estate) gift from John Orr established this chair in June 2003.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor and Extension Specialist Louise Jackson, 2006 to present
http://groups.ucanr.org/jacksonlab/

Dr. Jackson is the inaugural holder of the John B. Orr Endowed Chair in Environmental Plant Sciences. Jackson is internationally recognized as an expert on topics related to plant and soil ecology, agricultural sustainability, biodiversity, and land use change.  Dr. Jackson is strongly committed to utilizing and conserving biodiversity to provide services within agricultural ecosystems, reducing impacts on wildland ecosystems, and developing policies for sustaining biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

The Raveling Endowed Professorship in Waterfowl Biology
Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology

Purpose:
Even modest changes in agricultural practices and wetlands management can bring enormous benefits for the 20 percent of the nation’s geese, swans and ducks who live in or migrate through California’s Central Valley. The birds repay this kindness by helping farmers control weeds and mosquitoes. The Raveling Professorship helps faculty pursue both basic research and its applications in farming, business and public policy. The Raveling endowment enables the faculty holder to put graduate students into the field quickly and get vital research done.
 
Year Established and Funding:
In 1995, the Friends of California Waterfowl, a volunteer support group of businesspeople, farmers, associations and foundations, established this endowed fund in honor of the late Dennis G. Raveling, an internationally recognized waterfowl researcher who taught at UC Davis for 20 years. Major donors include Peter and Nora Stent, Herbst Foundation, Dean Witter Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Charles Schwab, Victor Parachini

Current Chair Holder:
Professor John Eadie, 1995 to present
http://wfcb.ucdavis.edu/pages/faculty/Eadie.htm

Dr. Eadie calls ducks “the poster children of wetlands conservation because the loss of 90 to 95 percent of its wetlands has made California the emergency room of the biological sciences.”  His research interests extend beyond waterfowl ecology to include waterfowl evolution, behavioral ecology, and ecological and conservation genetics.

The Marvin Sands Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology
Department of Viticulture and Enology

Purpose:
This endowed chair honors the late Marvin Sands, founder of beverage industry leader Canandaigua, now known as Constellation Brands. When Marvin Sands passed away, his "industry friends" pledged over $400,000 to establish an endowment in his honor in the department. Major contributors include Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the Goldring Family Foundation and the Wirtz Corporation. Canandaigua Industries was established in 1945. It grew from a small bulk wine producer in the Northeast to an international, diversified multi-billion dollar beverage company.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1999 by the generosity of friends and associates of Marvin Sands.

Current Chair Holder:
An international search is underway for the new department chair for viticulture and enology. The successful candidate will become the next Sands chair holder. 

The Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics
Department of Entomology

Purpose:
This chair was established through gifts from the Schlinger Foundation.  It was the intent of Evert and Marion Schlinger that this endowed chair attracts and sustains scholars and scientists working in the area of the systematics of insects, including arachnids.

Year Established and Funding:
This chair was established in December 1995 and funded with generous gifts totaling $1 million.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Peter S. Cranston, 2005 to present
http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/faculty/cranston.html

Dr. Cranston’s research interests are in systematics, biodiversity, ecology and the biogeography of aquatic insects.  He is highly reputed for his work on the Chironomidae (non-biting midges).

The Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology
Department of Viticulture and Enology

Purpose:
To support excellence in research for a faculty member pursuing scientific advancement in the fields of enology and viticulture.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1984 through generous gifts from Robert S. Scott and Scott Laboratories Inc.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor Roger Boulton, 2000 to present
http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty.php?id=4

Dr. Boulton studies the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking and distilled spirits production. His work involves fermentation and reaction kinetics; physical and chemical stability of wines; mathematical modeling, computer simulation and control of enological operations; winery design (winemaking equipment selection, winery design and layout) and the economics of investment and operation. Boulton’s current research involves a major effort into the phenomenon of copigmentation, a major color phenomenon in red wines, as well as fermentation interests involving juice composition and sulfide formation.

 

The Sesnon Endowed Chair in Animal Science
Department of Animal Science

Purpose:
The Sesnon Chair supports a distinguished animal scientist who provides intellectual leadership in undergraduate and graduate teaching and research for the Department of Animal Science, the College and the campus. The chair holder is expected to have made distinguished research contributions in the field of animal science relevant to the biology and production of livestock or aquaculture species.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1977 through generous gifts from Porter Sesnon, Barbara Sesnon Cartan, William T. Sesnon, Jr. and the Cal Aggie Foundation.

Current Chair Holder:
Recruitment for new chair holder underway during academic year 2006-2007

 

The Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science
Department of Food Science and Technology

Purpose:
To provide continuous support for the chair holder to allow for the conduct of exemplary research, teaching, and continuous interaction with the dairy food industry.

Year Established and Funding:
Established in 1993 through the generosity of the California Milk Advisory Board and the California Manufacturing Milk Advisory Board.

Current Chair Holder:
Professor John Krochta, 1998 to present
http://foodscience.ucdavis.edu/fst/faculty/KrochtaWeb/index.htm

Dr. Krochta’s research focuses on food engineering, food packaging, edible films and coatings, mass transfer in foods and biological systems shares. He shares his thoughts on the Shields chair here:  http://foodscience.ucdavis.edu/fst/faculty/KrochtaWeb/thoughts.htm

 

The Donald and Miriam Stelling Endowed Chair in Agricultural Economics
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Purpose:
The gift from Miriam C. Stelling was provided to establish an academic chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics (now the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics). The holder of this chair will be known as the Stelling Professor in Agricultural Economics and will focus on agricultural trade, marketing, policy and related matters, creating more knowledge leading to the enrichment of agriculture’s economic capabilities.

Year Established and Funding:
This endowed chair was established through a generous planned gift. The UC Davis Foundation received a charitable remainder trust when Miriam C. Stelling passed away in October 1999 and will receive assets from the trust when her beneficiary passes. The endowed chair was established in January 2001.

Current Chair Holder:
The department has chosen to not fill this chair until trust funds become available.

The Alexander and Elizabeth Swantz Endowed Specialist in Cooperative Extension
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Purpose:
Given that innovation and change in agricultural and environmental sciences are occurring at a rapid rate, the Swantzes leave specific designation of the Swantz Specialist in Cooperative Extension to the discretion of the dean. The general area of research, extension education, and outreach will be in agriculture or environmental science conducted in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, with primary consideration given to water use management.

Year Established and Funding:
This chair was funded in 2004 through a variety of generous financial gift instruments to the UC Davis Foundation.

Current Chair Holder:
Recruitment for inaugural chair holder underway during academic year 2006-2007.