Orange Alert

Skip to main content
Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Named Chairs and Professorships

Faculty are the foundation of the student experience in A&S | Maxwell.

Thanks to generous donors who have endowed teaching positions, A&S has a long tradition as a home of faculty excellence. Chairs or professorships recognize a faculty member's groundbreaking work as educators and researchers and also honor their endowments’ namesakes in perpetuity.

suzanne-baldwin-portrait-original.JPG

Suzanne Baldwin

Michael G. and Susan T. Thonis Professor, Thermochronology & Tectonics

Email: sbaldwin@syr.edu

333A Heroy Geology Laboratory

Phone: 315.443.4920


Michael G. and Susan T. Thonis Professor

Board of Trustees Vice Chair Michael Thonis ’72 and his wife Susan (Tufts ’80), have endowed two professorships in Earth sciences.

Thonis is co-founder of Charlesbank Capital Partners in Boston and serves as senior advisor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geology at SU, a master’s degree in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. at Harvard University.

Although his career path has gone through the financial world, geology remains an important focus for Thonis. “Earth science explains our world today in the broad context of deep place and time.” He adds, “Sadly, most Earth sciences departments are underfunded, so I do what I can to help SU’s department.”

Thonis Family Professor and renowned geologist and thermochronologist Professor Suzanne Baldwin, uses thermochronology and petrology to investigate how planets have evolved. She is especially interested in understanding lithospheric plate boundary processes.

The professorship helps support experiments on minerals and rocks to determine the thermal evolution of the Earth’s lithosphere and planetary materials. Her lab examines rock samples from around the world and beyond, including from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the moon (Apollo 16 and 17). She also directs the Syracuse University Noble Gas Isotopic Research Laboratory (SUNGIRL) where noble gases are extracted from minerals to reveal their thermal histories.

tripti-bhattacharya-portrait-original.jpg

Tripti Bhattacharya

Thonis Family Assistant Professor: Paleoclimate Dynamics

Email: trbhatta@syr.edu

333f Heroy Geology Laboratory

Phone: 315.443.1348


Thonis Family Assistant Professor:

Board of Trustees Vice Chair Michael Thonis ’72 and his wife Susan (Tufts ’80), have endowed two professorships in Earth sciences.

Thonis is co-founder of Charlesbank Capital Partners in Boston and serves as senior advisor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geology at SU, a master’s degree in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. at Harvard University.

Although his career path has gone through the financial world, geology remains an important focus for Thonis. “Earth science explains our world today in the broad context of deep place and time.” He adds, “Sadly, most Earth sciences departments are underfunded, so I do what I can to help SU’s department.”

Assistant professor of Earth sciences and Thonis Family Professor Tripti Bhattacharya, is an expert in climate science.

Bhattacharya’s work focuses on understanding the physical mechanisms that govern rainfall variability in the tropics and subtropics. To do this, she uses state-of-the-art methods in organic chemistry to reconstruct past rainfall. She also uses climate models to pinpoint the physical drivers of climate change over geologic time. This interdisciplinary work is at the forefront of the fields of paleoclimatology and climate physics.

ben-bradley-portrait-original.JPG

Ben Bradley

Allan and Anita Sutton Professor and Department Chair

Email: wbradley@syr.edu

533 Hall of Languages

Phone: 315-443-5818


Allan and Anita Sutton Professor

To underscore their belief that the humanities are central to society, Allan ’55 and Anita ’60 Sutton created the Anita and Allan D. Sutton Distinguished Professor in philosophy.

Inaugural Sutton Professor Ben Bradley is a prominent scholar with expertise in ethical theory and philosophy of death. Bradley explores topics such as existential terror when contemplating future nonexistence and how to grapple with emotions concerning death.

What effect does future nonexistence have on the meaningfulness of our lives? How do we make sense of those kinds of feeling of terror? Death is never an easy topic to discuss, but Bradley’s research seeks to uncover why we feel the way we do and the rationality behind certain emotions toward death.

duncan-brown-portrait-original-2017.jpg

Duncan Brown

Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics

Email: dabrown@syr.edu

263-1 Physics Building

Phone: 315.443.5993


Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics

Duncan Brown, a world-renowned expert in gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, is the inaugural Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics. Brown earned this recognition for his leadership role in the multinational Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment, his excellence in teaching and mentoring, and his contributions to campus research computing. The three-year professorship is designed to recognize and support early- to mid-career physicists. Named for the physicist who taught at Syracuse from 1916 to 1950, the professorship was made possible by a $1.4 million bequest to the Department of Physics by Joseph and Charlotte ’37 Stone. Brightman’s teaching career also included positions at Wesleyan University, Mount Holyoke College, and DePauw University, where he was the first professor with a Ph.D. in physics (earned from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.).

Virginia-Burrus-portrait.jpg

Virginia Burrus

The Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor

Email: mvburrus@syr.edu

520 Hall of Languages

Phone: 315.443.3861


The Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor

The Professorship itself was established in1957 by three New York Conferences of the Methodist Church (Northern New York, Central New York and Western New York).  Rev. Charles Bollinger, then Director of Christian Higher Education of the Syracuse area Methodist Church spearheaded the effort, working with Chancellor Tolley.   The inaugural Professorship began in September 1958 with Dr. Harmon Bro as the first Ledden Professor.  The title was apparently emended because two years later, in 1960, Dr. Howard Ham was appointed the first Ledden Professor in Religious Higher Education. 

The Chair was named in honor of Bishop W. Earl Ledden who served as Bishop of the Syracuse area Methodist Church for 16 years.

dympna-callaghan-portrait-original-20190516-6967.jpg

Dympna Callaghan

William Safire Professor of Modern Letters and University Professor

Email: dccallag@syr.edu

435 Hall of Languages

Phone: 315.443.2173


William Safire Professor of Modern Letters

The Safire Professor was established by Bob Menschel ’51, H’91 in honor of his friend of more than 60 years, William Lewis Safire ’51, H’78. The two met while attending SU in the late 1940s.

Safire was a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon before becoming a columnist for The New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1978. He also wrote "On Language," a weekly column. In 2006, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

A partner at Goldman Sachs, Menschel helped establish an industry model adopted by other Wall Street firms. A commitment to education and love of photography inspired him to create Syracuse University’s Robert B. Menschel Media Center, the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery and the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at the Maxwell School.

Shakespearean scholar Dympna Callaghan is the William L. Safire Professor of Modern Letters.

Published widely on playwrights and poets of the English Renaissance, she was president of the Shakespeare Association of America in 2012-13. She has written or edited more than a dozen books, and

co-edited the volume “Shakespeare in Our Time,” to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Among other projects, she is writing about the relationship between poetic fluency and freedom of speech.

She was named University Professor for her extraordinary scholarly achievement.

Ken Frieden

Ken Frieden

B.G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies and William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities

Email: kfrieden@syr.edu

506 Hall of Languages

Phone: 315.443.3861


B.G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies

Bernard G. Rudolph was a Syracuse businessman and philanthropist whose activities encompassed both civic and religious life of the community. Like his father, Jay Rudolph supported the Judaic Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, and provided the support needed to create the B.G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies.

Ken Frieden is the B.G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies and professor of Religion, English, and Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. He is an expert in the study of European and American Judaic literature. His research has focused on the cultural impact of Yiddish and Hebrew narratives through the lens of emerging modern literature and travel narratives in the eighteenth century. His book, Travels in Translation: Sea Tales at the Source of Jewish Fiction (Syracuse University Press, 2016), was the recipient of the Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award in the department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. He is also recipient of the William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities.


William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities

The Tolley Professorship was established in 1995 to ensure continued excellence in pedagogy at Syracuse. Underwritten by private donors and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the professorship has benefited hundreds of tenured and nontenured faculty members. The two-year appointment was named to honor Chancellor Emeritus William P. Tolley, who served as Chancellor of Syracuse University from 1942 until 1969.

Tolley Professor Ken Frieden represents the highest level of teaching in the humanities and commitment to educational excellence, innovative research and discovery.

Professor of Religion, English, and Languages, Literatures and Linguistics (LLL), Frieden is a renowned expert in the study of European and American Judaic literature. Most recently, his research has focused on the cultural impact of Yiddish and Hebrew narratives through the lens of emerging modern literature and travel narratives in the eighteenth century. His latest book, Travels in Translation: Sea Tales at the Source of Jewish Fiction (Syracuse University Press, 2016), was the recipient of the Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award in the department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics this past year.

Additionally, Frieden has served as the B.G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies at Syracuse University since his arrival on campus in 1993.

hewett-sandra-portrait-original.jpg

Sandra Hewett

Beverly Petterson Bishop Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Biology

Email: shewett@syr.edu

362 Life Sciences Complex

Phone: 315.443.9657


Beverly Petterson Bishop Professor of Neuroscience

To honor his wife’s legacy, Charles Bishop ’42, G’44 established the Beverly Petterson Bishop Professorship of Neuroscience at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Beverly Petterson ’44 graduated from Syracuse University in 1944, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Charles had a master’s in chemistry. They both went on to earn doctoral degrees and led successful careers in teaching and research.

Beverly was known for her significant contributions to neurophysiology research and for her dedication to education. She was named Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY Buffalo in 1992. She continued to teach until a week before her death in 2008 at the age of 86.

Sandra J. Hewett holds the inaugural Bishop Professorship in the Department of Biology and is director of Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Studies. Hewett studies the molecular and biochemical processes that occur in the brain after injury. She is particularly interested in the function and dysfunction of astrocytes, star-shaped cells that provide physical and nutritional support for neurons.

tadeusz-iwaniec-portrait-2009.jpg

Tadeusz Iwaniec

John Raymond French Professor

Email: tiwaniec@syr.edu

304F Carnegie Library

Phone: 315.443.1495


John Raymond French Professor of Mathematics

John Raymond French was a professor of mathematics and the first dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Syracuse University. In 1895, he was made Vice Chancellor to Syracuse University’s fourth Chancellor, James Roscoe Day, and served in the position until his death in 1897. A professorship of civil engineering was named in his honor, which is known today as the John Raymond French Professor of Mathematics.

John Raymond French Professor Tadeusz Iwaniec is an internationally acclaimed mathematics researcher. His work in the area of geometric function theory, nonlinear analyses and partial differential equations with applications to elasticity theory and material sciences, has been continuously supported since 1988 by the National Science Foundation.

Iwaniec has been recognized by several international awards—the 2001 medal and prize of the Henri Poincare Institute of Nonlinear Analysis; the 1997 Alfred Jurzykowski Award in the Field of Mathematics; and the 1980 Prize of the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

He is also the recipient of the Chancellor's Citation for Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction.

johnson-samual-portrait-original.JPG

Samuel Johnson

Carole & Alvin I. Schragis Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor

Email: sjohns32@syr.edu

308 F Bowne Hall

Phone: 315.443.4875


Carole & Alvin I. Schragis Faculty Fellow

Alvin Schragis ’51 was a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and life member of the board of trustees. He was executive vice president of Carol Management Corporation and Doral Hotels. Carole Kaskel Schragis ’50 was a graduate of the School of Education and long-time designer of Doral Country Club sportswear.

Samuel Johnson, assistant professor of art history and the Carole and Alvin I. Schragis Faculty Fellow, is a specialist in the art and architecture of the Russian and Soviet avant-gardes. His research focuses on the relationship between abstract art and politics in Russia between the World Wars, specifically on avant-garde Soviet and Russian art spanning from 1917 to the mid- to late 1930s. This time period was at the start of the Russian Revolution that overthrew the Czarist regime until the Great Terror when Stalin imprisoned and ordered the death of the elite and general members of society.

Jeffrey-Karson-portrait.JPG

Jeffrey A Karson

Jessie Page Heroy Professor and Department Chair: Tectonics & Magmatism of Rifts and Transform Faults

Email: jakarson@syr.edu

222 (or 204B) Heroy Geology Laboratory

Phone: 315.443.7976; 315.443.5298


Jessie Page Heroy Professor

William Bayard Heroy endowed the Jessie Page Heroy Professor of geology in honor of his wife Jessie Minerva Page Heroy. Today, the geology department is fittingly housed in the Heroy Geology Laboratory building.

Heroy discovered geology while attending Syracuse on scholarship in 1908. He left before graduating to work for the U.S. Geological Survey, returning later to graduate with a Ph.B. in the Class of 1909, and to marry his classmate, Jessie Minerva Page Ph.B ’08.

The research focus of Jessie Page Heroy Professor Jeffrey Alan Karson includes structural geology and tectonics, oceanic lithosphere, seafloor spreading and natural and experimental lava flows.

He is principle investigator of the Syracuse University Lava Project, where lava flows are created miles away from volcanic activity under controlled conditions to help researchers better understand the dynamics of flowing lava and how they are interpreted.

m-lisa-manning-portrait-original.jpg

M. Lisa Manning

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics

Email: mmanning@syr.edu

229-B Physics Building

Phone: 315.443.3920


William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics

Lisa Manning is the William R. Kenan Professor and directs BioInspired Syracuse: Institute for Material and Living Systems.

Her research describes cells’ behavior in terms of the mechanical forces they exert on one another. Her approach has led to a new understanding of a whole host of biological processes that involve cells on the move, including embryonic development, wound healing and even asthma and cancer.

Bioinspired Syracuse brings together scholars who have related research interests. It supports multidisciplinary research into complex biological systems, developing and designing programmable smart materials to address global challenges in health, medicine and materials innovation. It is an institute for material and living systems, focusing on three key areas: drug discovery, smart materials and development and disease.

The Kenan Professor was created thanks to American chemist, engineer, manufacturer, and philanthropist William Rand Kenan, Jr.

Kenan felt so keenly about the importance of education that he stated in his will, “I have always believed firmly that a good education is the most cherished gift an individual can receive.” Directing $95 million of his estate in support of education, Kenan established the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and has endowed more than 85 professorships at colleges and universities on the East Coast, including Syracuse University, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University and the University of Rochester—all in New York state where Kenan resided most of his life in Lockport, New York.

Scott Pitnick not-cropped.jpg

Scott Pitnick

Weeden Professor of Biology

Email: sspitnic@syr.edu

252 Life Sciences Complex

Phone: 315.443.5128


Weeden Professor of Biology

Scott Pitnick is an accomplished teacher and researcher, internationally recognized for his work in sexual selection, speciation, and the evolution of reproductive and life-history traits. In 2014, he was appointed the inaugural Weeden Professor, enabling him to continue his study and teaching of biodiversity and the fundamental nature of sex differences and sexual conflict. Since joining the Syracuse faculty in 1996, Pitnick has been awarded more than $3 million in grants, most of which are from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Along the way, he has founded the Syracuse University Center for Reproductive Evolution, directed the biology department’s graduate studies program, authored more than 70 scholarly articles and book chapters, and co-edited the book Sperm Biology: An Evolutionary Perspective(Elsevier, 2009).

Pitnick is an internationally sought-after lecturer, and his work has been covered by major media outlets all over the world. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology from Arizona State University before completing an NSF postdoctoral fellowship.

The Weeden Professorship was established by Jane Weeden (1922-2013) and Morris “Mike” Weeden ’41 (1919-2013), who was a lifetime trustee of Syracuse University, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Visitors, president of the Syracuse University Alumni Association, and chair of the University’s Corporate Advisory Council.

Shira-Schwartz.jpg

Shira Schwartz

Assistant Professor, Phyllis Backer Professor of Jewish Studies

Email: seschwar@syr.edu


Phyllis Backer Professor of Jewish Studies

Dr. Shira Schwartz is the inaugural Phyllis Backer Professor of Jewish Studies.

The Phyllis Backer Professor of Jewish Studies is a new Chair established in 2017 from a major gift from the Phyllis Backer Foundation to promote the study and teaching of Modern Jewish society and culture, texts and ideas through an ethnographic or sociological lens.  Drawing on these perspectives, the position will contribute to the study of modern Jewish culture as lived history and tradition.

david-sobel-portrait-original.jpg

David Sobel

Irwin and Marjorie Guttag Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy

Email: dsobel@syr.edu

308 Hall of Languages


Irwin and Marjorie Guttag Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy

Former member of the University’s Board of Trustees and legendary Wall Street trader, Irwin Guttag ’37 and his wife Marjorie Vogel Guttag ’38 established the Irwin and Marjorie Guttag Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy. The holder of the Guttag Chair is a leading thinker in the field of ethics and applies principles of moral behavior, justice and good and evil to political philosophy.

Guttag, who served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II, was associated with Kaufman, Alsberg, and Company, a New York trading firm, where he was a senior partner and then president before his retirement in 1988. An arbitrage specialist and a pioneer in options, Guttag helped found both the New York Futures Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Guttag Professor David Sobel’s expertise includes theories of well-being, consequentialist moral theory and libertarian political philosophy. Much of his research has focused on understanding what makes something valuable. He has also explored how demanding moral obligations can be, problems for some libertarian conceptions of natural rights, as well as the best understanding of what makes something good for us.