President Sharon Herzberger announced the appointment of two new faculty chairs: Professor of Business Administration Lana Nino was named the John A. Murdy Endowed Chair in Business Administration and Economics, and Associate Professor of Sociology Sal Johnston was named the inaugural C. Wright Mills Chair in Sociology.
The John A. Murdy Endowed Chair in Business Administration and Economics recognizes faculty for their accomplishments in teaching, scholarly excellence, and significant service. The endowed chair was established with a generous gift of Maxine and George Trotter in honor of John Murdy, who served as a trustee of the College from 1984 to 1992.
An active scholar of business education, Nino’s research focuses on the professionalization of the field and advancing students within it. In 2016, she co-authored the book Educating Business Professionals: The Call Beyond Competence and Expertise with Professor Emerita Susan Gotsch. Nino also currently chairs her department, and has been a member of numerous committees including the Faculty Executive Committee, Whittier Scholars Council, and the Educational Policies Committee.
“One of the most satisfying aspects of my presidency is working with donors who care deeply about Whittier College to provide support for the work of our excellent professors,” said Herzberger. “This endowed faculty chair appointment is intended to support Lana’s future growth as a faculty member at Whittier, and particularly to bolster her support of students and innovative teaching.”
The C. Wright Mills Chair in Sociology was created through the generosity of the late Professor Emeritus Les Howard ’62 and many of his supporters. The holder of the endowed professorship will 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.
A popular advisor and teacher who was honored with the Nerhood award in 2003, Johnston’s courses transverse a range of issues including sociological theory, social change, power and politics, and sustainable food systems.
“One of my first interactions with Sal occurred when he volunteered to lead a project designed to reduce food waste at the [Campus Inn] and led Whittier to become one of the first colleges to eliminate the use of trays,” said Herzberger. “The Sustainable Urban Farm (SUrF) and its curricular and co-curricular opportunities were made possible because of his vision and hard work.”
Johnston’s current research focuses on the impact of social, political, and legal changes on the daily lives of transgender men and he also examines motivation and persistence among wildlife rehab volunteers.