Nov. 30, 2006 • Volume 15 Number 7
Three More BC Faculty Named to Endowed Chairs
Boston College continues to strengthen the quality of its teaching with the recently announced addition of two more endowed chairs.
James O'Toole has been appointed as the first Charles I. Clough Chair in History, while Lawrence Scott is the inaugural Louise and James Vanderslice and Family Chair in Chemistry.
The Clough and Vanderslice chairs bring to four the number of endowed chairs established at the University in the past six months, all of which have been filled by BC faculty members. Earlier this fall, the University announced the appointments of Peter Ireland as Murray and Monti Professor of Economics and George Brown as the Robert F. Drinan, SJ, Chair at the Law School.
In addition, this month Jesuit Institute Director T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, was named the second holder of the Peter Canisius Chair. [Also, the University announced that Henry Braun will be the next Boisi Professor of Education.]
"The recent award of endowed chairs to professors Kennedy, O'Toole, Scott - and earlier to professors Ireland and Brown - recognize members of our faculty who 'live' the school's motto, 'Ever to Excel,'" said Provost and Dean of Faculties Bert Garza. "Recognizing academic excellence is always gratifying, but as I have indicated in the past, it always is more special when directed to one of our own."
O'Toole, a 1972 alumnus who earned his doctorate at BC in 1987, joined the History Department in 1998. He is a widely respected authority on American Catholicism who authored the critically acclaimed 2002 book Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920 as well as a 1992 biography of Cardinal William Henry O'Connell, and was editor for Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth Century America. O'Toole also was an archivist for the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Clough Chair in History was established through a gift by University Trustee Charles I. Clough '64, the board chairman from 1999-2002. Clough and his wife Gloria - who holds a master's degree from the Connell School of Nursing - have made several gifts to BC, including the Clough Colloquium on Leadership and Ethics and scholarship programs for the Presidential Scholars Program and for qualified students with a preference for graduates of Boston Latin School.
Clough is the 1991 recipient of the William V. McKenney Award, the Boston College Alumni Association's highest honor, was a member of the Campaign Executive Committee for the Ever to Excel Campaign, and has served as co-chair of the Boston College Wall Street Council.
"I'm delighted to have been named to the Clough Chair," said O'Toole. "I consider it an honor not only for me, but also for the history department. Through my research and writing on American Catholic history, I hope it will help highlight the continuing importance of the Catholic intellectual tradition here at Boston College."
Scott came to BC in the summer of 1993, after having taught at UCLA and the University of Nevada, Reno. The design, synthesis and study of novel organic compounds constitute the primary research activities of students and postdocs in the Scott laboratories. Scott and his teams' target molecules are typically chosen for their capacity to exhibit unusual molecular properties and/or abnormal chemical behavior as a consequence of unusual structural features.
Recently, they succeeded in developing chemical methods to synthesize "Buckyballs" - spherical C60 molecules named for their resemblance to the geodesic domes of the revolutionary American architect Buckminster Fuller. Ongoing research in the Scott laboratories now focuses on chemical syntheses of carbon nanotubes that can serve as ultra thin wires for molecular scale electrical devices. Many of the undergraduates working as research fellows in Scott's lab go on to earn doctorates in chemistry at leading institutions.
The chair Scott occupies was made possible by a gift by retired Dell Computer Corp. Vice Chairman Dr. James Vanderslice '62 and his wife Louise. Prior to Dell, Dr. Vanderslice spent 33 years at IBM, where he was senior vice president and group executive for IBM's Technology Group and a member of the company's corporate executive committee. Dr. Vanderslice's two brothers, Joseph and Thomas, also graduated from BC, as did three of James and Louise's four children. In 1987, Dr. Vanderslice received a Boston College Alumni Award of Excellence.
"To be chosen for an endowed chair is a wonderful honor," said Scott. "I am especially grateful to Louise and Jim Vanderslice and their family for the extraordinarily generous philanthropy this represents," Scott says of the endowed chair. "Friends of BC such as these play a critical role in elevating this institution to world class status."
New Canisius Chair holder Fr. Kennedy, a 1971 alumnus, became director of the Jesuit Institute in 2002, succeeding inaugural director and chairholder Michael Buckley, SJ. The Jesuit Institute was founded in 1988 and sponsors numerous seminars, workshops, fellowships and other programs that examine questions at the intersection of faith and culture.
A co-founder of the Music Department, and its chairman since 1992, Fr. Kennedy is a music historian who has researched, unearthed and revived several centuries-old works that have ties to Jesuit tradition and history. These include two long-lost Jesuit operas, both of which Fr. Kennedy staged at BC; he also produced the performance of one of the operas, "San Ignacio de Loyola," in Rome earlier this year as part of the 500th birthday jubilee for Jesuit founder St. Ignatius.
Named for the 16th-century Jesuit educator, writer and theologian, the Peter Canisius Chair was established in 1996 by an anonymous $2.5 million gift to provide funds for the Jesuit Institute's operating expenses.
"St. Peter Canisius, for whom this chair is named, was one of the first great intellectuals of the Society of Jesus," said Fr. Kennedy. "Both as a scholar and an administrator I would hope that the name of Canisius would continue to animate the work of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, on the one hand representing the Jesuit dedication to the intellectual life, and on the other, encouraging and enabling the scholarly community here at Boston College to an ever higher level of discourse around the issues of faith and culture."
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