President Linda Oubré announced the appointment of three faculty members to endowed professorships in biology and chemistry.
These appointments recognize the chosen professors' outstanding academic accomplishments and teaching excellence and are intended to support future scholarly growth.
Professor Ralph Isovitsch has been named the next W. Roy ’34 and Alice Newsom Endowed Chair in Chemistry. Isovitsch regularly leads research groups that include at least three Whittier students. Since spring 2006 the research accomplishments of Isovitsch's students have been presented as posters at national meetings of the American Chemical Society in either the organic chemistry or inorganic chemistry divisions. Moreover, since 2009, his student’s research accomplishments have been featured in eight peer-reviewed publications.
The W. Roy and Alice Newsom Endowed Chair in Chemistry was named in honor of the late Roy Newsom, tenth President of Whittier College, and his wife Alice. The Newsom Chair provides support for an outstanding scholar in Chemistry.
Associate Professor David Mbora has been named the new James Irvine Foundation Chair in the Biological Sciences. Mbora is an ecologist, and conservation biologist, interested in understanding how the preeminent threats to biodiversity, habitat loss, and fragmentation, affect animals. Mbora teaches courses in animal behavior, conservation biology, ecology and evolution, and environmental science. He involves his students in all research activities including fieldwork in Kenya and laboratory analysis in the United States.
Established through the generosity of the James Irvine Foundation, this endowed chair provides for the support of a faculty member in the field of biological sciences, who has distinguished themselves as an instructor, researcher, and author.
Professor Sylvia Lopez Vetrone ’99 has been named the new Fletcher Jones Chair in Molecular Biology. Through her scientific expertise in the fields of immunology and oncology, Vetrone has worked with teams of students to explore the impact of nutraceuticals or synthetic nanoparticles on cancer progression, longevity, reproduction, metabolism, and immune function. Through this research, Vetrone and her students aim to better understand the mechanisms through which natural extracts impact the cellular integrity of organisms, and how they may be harnessed for therapeutic purposes.
The funding for the Fletcher Jones endowed chair was generously provided through the Fletcher Jones Foundation. This Endowment provides funds for the support of a distinguished faculty member in the field of molecular biology or genetics.
Continuing Faculty Chairs
Professor of Religious Studies Jake Carbine has served as the C. Milo Connick Endowed Chair in Religion since 2017. This endowed chair was named in honor of C. Milo Connick, Professor Emeritus of Religion and College Trustee. This endowed chair provides funds for support of distinguished faculty in the field of Religion.
Professor Danilo Lozano has served as the Richard and Billie Deihl Distinguished Chair since 2014. This chair was established by Richard Deihl ’49 and his wife Billie ’50 to provide funds for support of a distinguished scholar.
Associate Professor of Environmental Science Cinzia Fissore serves as the Roy E. and Marie G. Campbell Distinguished Chair in Biology. This chair was established by Dr. Roy E. Campbell, Director of the U.S. Entomological Laboratory, which supports a distinguished faculty member in biology and assists the College in enriching teaching and research activities.
Associate Professor of Art David Sloan serves as the Hazel Cooper Jordan Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities. This endowed chair was established with a gift from Chester McCloskey ’40, and his wife, Olive ’44, in memory of Olive’s mother. Its purpose is to maintain and enhance Whittier College’s contribution to the languages and the humanities.
Associate Professor Christina Bauer has served as the Chester and Olive McCloskey Endowed Chair in Chemistry since 2019. This endowed chair was established by alumni Chet '40 and Olive '40 McCloskey in 2007 and is designed to support the teaching, research, and service of an inspirational and dedicated professor.
Professor Rebecca Overmyer Velázquez serves as the C. Wright Mills Chair in Sociology. The endowed professorship was made possible through the generosity of the late Professor Emeritus Les Howard ’62. Howard’s desire was that the Chair would apply sociological theory to practice within a local or international community; promote social justice, especially for the disenfranchised; and use the resources of the appointment for student-centered activities.
Professor David Ian Paddy has served as the Albert Upton Endowed Chair in English Language and Literature since 2019. This endowed chair commemorates the director of Whittier’s earlier liberal education curriculum, the general studies program, and the designer of a semantically-oriented first-year English course. The holder of the Upton Chair is committed to teaching, writing, and plays an important role in the College’s writing program.
Professor of Business Administration Lana Nino is the John A. Murdy Endowed Chair in Business Administration and Economics. This endowed chair recognizes faculty for their accomplishments in teaching, scholarly excellence, and significant service. The endowed chair was established with the generous gift of Maxine and George Trotter in honor of John Murdy, who served as a trustee of the College from 1984 to 1992.
Professor of Kinesiology Trish Van Oosbree is the Yao Yuan Sze Chair in Kinesiology. The Yao Yuan Sze Foundation has created fellowships in kinesiology, provided an operational budget for the department and for student support services, and made a leadership gift enabling the construction of two laboratories in the Science & Learning Center forming the Yao Yuan Sze Center for Health and Wellness. Van Oosbree serves as an advisor to the Yao Yuan Sze Fellowship program, which provides financial and mentoring support for students interested in conducting supervised research with a faculty member.