Endowed Professorships

There is a long tradition in higher education of appointing faculty members to endowed professorships and chairs. At Illinois Wesleyan this honor is reserved for members of the faculty who have distinguished themselves through exemplary teaching and active engagement of students, outstanding scholarship and/or artistic achievement, and service at the very highest levels of the University. The guiding principle in awarding an endowed professorship or chair is that the individual represents our highest aspirations for faculty members on this campus.

These distinguished professorships are named in honor of the generous donors who made them possible. Listed by year established:

  1. The Isaac Funk Professorship, established 1866
  2. The George C. and Ella Beach Lewis Chair of Biology, established 1963
  3. The Caroline F. Rupert Chair of Nursing, established 1961
  4. The Adlai H. Rust Chair of Insurance/Finance, established 1971
  5. The R. Forrest Colwell Chair of English, established 1972
  6. The Fern Rosetta Sherff Professorship in Music, established 1977
  7. The Miner Linnaeus Sherff Professorship of Botany, established 1977
  8. The McFee Professorship of Religion, established 1984
  9. The Dr. Robert S. Eckley Professorship of Economics, established 1986
  10. The Edward R. Telling Professorship of Business Administration, established 1987
  11. The Dr. Kenji Tanaka Professorship of Japanese Studies, established 1991
  12. The Earl H. and Marian A. Beling Professorship of Natural Sciences, established 1998
  13. The Deloris Helsley Ascher Professorship of Nursing, established 2007
  14. The Byron S. Tucci Professorship, established 2010
  15. Robert W. Harrington Professorship in Business & Economics, established 2010
  16. Wendell and Loretta Hess Professorship of Chemistry, established 2012
  17. Betty Ritchie-Birrer '47 and Ivan Birrer Endowed Professorship, established 2013

Marina Balina

Named 2007

Marina Balina, Isaac Funk Professor and Professor of German and Russian

Established in 1866 by the Funk family to honor Illinois Wesleyan founder Isaac Funk

Named to the Isaac Funk Professorship in 2007, Marina Balina is a professor of Russian Studies who is known internationally for her pioneering research of Soviet and post-Soviet children's literature. A native of Russia who was educated in Russia and Germany, Balina joined Illinois Wesleyan University's faculty in 1989 and is a member of the University's Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, where she has helped shape the curriculum and served as department chair.

A prolific author, Balina has published numerous articles and five books in three languages – Russian, German and English – and is sought internationally as a speaker, including recent guest lectures in Italy, Austria, Russia and Germany. Her dedication to her students is legendary. Balina was recently named the recipient of the 2008 Pantagraph Award for Teaching Excellence at Illinois Wesleyan.

Balina has won grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Austrian Ministry of Culture, the American Association of Learned Societies, the National Endowment of Humanities and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.


Given Harper

Named 2011

Given Harper, Beach Lewis Chair of Biology

Established in 1963 through a gift to honor George C. Lewis and Mrs. Ella Beach Lewis

Named to the Beach Lewis Chair of Biology in 2011, R. Given Harper is an avian ecologist whose scholarly work ranges from documenting DDT and heavy metal contaminants in North American gray wolves, to estimating the breeding populations of red-tailed hawks and American Kestrels in Illinois.

While at Illinois Wesleyan, Harper has served as chair of the Biology Department and co-chair of the Premedical/Predental Advisory Committee. He has been a leader in sustainability efforts on campus, and together with Environmental Studies Program Director Abigail Jahiel contributed a chapter in Strategies for Sustainability: Stories from the Ivory Tower (MIT Press, 2004).

Harper's work has been recognized with grants by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Joyce Foundation. He has presented his research across the United States and the globe, from the American Ornithologists Union in Quebec to the International Ornithological Congress in New Zealand. His work has been published in the American Naturalist, Environmental Pollution, Chemosphere, Journal of Field Ornithology, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Journal of Avian Biology, Ecology and Behavioral Ecology.


Robert Bray

Named 1986

Robert Bray, R. Forrest Colwell Chair of English

Established in 1972 to honor R. Forrest Colwell, businessman, philanthropist and trustee

Named the R. Forrest Colwell Chair of English in 1986, Robert Bray's name is one of 35 engraved on the state library, honoring him as an historic Illinois author. An expert of Caribbean literature and 19th-century American literature, he is known for his award-winning book on Peter Cartwright, a dynamic frontier preacher, political opponent of Abraham Lincoln, and one of Illinois Wesleyan's founders. He won praise from Lincoln scholars with his recent book, Reading with Lincoln (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).

Joining the Illinois Wesleyan faculty in 1970, Bray received a doctorate from the University of Chicago. A crusader for academic integrity, Bray has been active in state organizations promoting education and chaired the Read Illinois program. He has been honored with many fellowships and grants, including those from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois Humanities Council.



 David Vayo

Named 2012

David Vayo, Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Music

Established in 1977 to honor the extraordinary generosity of the Sherff family

Named to the Fern Rosetta Sherff Professorship in 2012, David Vayo is a prolific composer who has been celebrated with awards and commissions from foundations such as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the St. Louis Symphony Society and the Koussevitzky Music Foundations in the Library of Congress, among many others. He has received ASCAPlus awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for more than 20 consecutive years.

Since joining Illinois Wesleyan in 1991, he has overseen two major revisions of the curriculum for the bachelor of music degree in composition and served the University in a number of capacities – as chair of the Faculty Development Committee, the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference Committee and the Latin American Studies Team, as well as being a member of the Academic Appeals Board. As Coordinator of New Music Activities at IWU, he directs the annual Symposium of Contemporary Music, the New Music Café concert series and other events in the School of Music's New Music Series. 


Carole Myscofski

Named 2011

Carole Myscofski, McFee Professor of Religion

Established in 1984 from the estate of Daisy McFee to honor her family

Named to the McFee Professorship in 2011, Carole Myscofski's scholarly works have been honored with numerous grants and fellowships, including two from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award. She was honored in 2001 with Illinois Wesleyan's top award for teaching excellence.

Myscofski's research interests include women's religious lives in colonial Brazil, for which she has traveled to Brazil and El Salvador. Her work has appeared in such journals as History of Religions, Religion, Journal of Latin American Lore, Luso-Brazilian Review, Journal of Ritual Studies, and the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion. She has contributed chapters to books including the Social History and Issues in Consciousness (New York University Press, 1989), and created scholarly entries for the Dictionary of Religion by HarperCollins, Encyclopedia of Latin American History by Charles Scribner's Sons, and the Micropedia of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Myscofski has served as an editor for the American Academy of Religion Academy (Dissertation) Series, published by Scholars Press and the Oxford University Press; and for the HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion.


Michael Seeborg

Named 1989

Michael Seeborg, Robert S. Eckley Professor of Economics

Established in 1986 to honor Robert S. Eckley, University president 1968-86

Named the Eckley Professor of Economics in 1989, Michael C. Seeborg is the author of numerous articles in the field of labor economics. His research interests are varied and include work on the economics of immigration, the economics of poverty and the economics of sports. He teaches many courses at all levels that focus on economic research, including the economics capstone senior project course, a May Term course on applied research in labor economics, and Gateway Colloquia for first-year students. His work is known on an international level, where he has studied agricultural economics in Poland and urban and rural population migration patterns in China.

Seeborg received the University's top teaching award in 1999. He helped establish two student-edited undergraduate economics journals at Illinois Wesleyan: The Park Place Economist takes submissions from Illinois Wesleyan students, and The Undergraduate Economic Review is an online publication that receives submissions from economics students around the world. Seeborg also is known for his emphasis on active learning, and often requires that students produce original research papers and encourages them to present their research in various venues, including the IWU John Wesley Powell Research Conference. 


Tian-Xiao He

Named 2013

Tian Xiao-He, Earl H. and Marian A. Beling Professor of Natural Sciences

Established by the Belings in 1998 in recognition of the quality of Illinois Wesleyan faculty

A prolific researcher and author, Professor of Mathematics Tian-Xiao He has published 111 papers and five books. His research interests include approximation theory, numerical analysis, wavelet analysis, multivariate splines, number theory, theory of functions, enumerative combinatorics and combinatorial analysis.

He was voted Student Senate Professor of the Year in 1994. He supervises student research projects each semester and has served as advisor to Pi Mu Epsilon (national mathematics honor society) and to the Illinois Wesleyan Mathematics Society, and has served on the Academic Appeals Board, Curriculum Council and Nominating Committee.

He earned a Ph.D. at Dalian University of Technology in his native China. Leetsch Charles Hsu, an international expert on combinatorics and number theory, directed his dissertation. He earned a second Ph.D. from Texas A&M University so he could work with Charles K. Chui, an internationally renowned expert on approximation theory.


Carolyn Nadeau

Named 2010

Carolyn Nadeau, Byron S. Tucci Professor and Professor of Hispanic Studies

Established in 2010 by Byron S. Tucci '66 as part of the Transforming Lives Campaign

Named to the Byron S. Tucci Professorship in 2010, Carolyn Nadeau specializes in 16th and 17th century Spanish literature. She is the author of more than a dozen articles and two books, Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I (Bucknell University, 2002) and a critical edition of Francisco de Quevedo's El buscon (European Masterpieces, Cervantes and Co., 2007).

She is currently completing her next book, Feeding Between the Lines: Discourses of Food in Early Modern Spain, and will soon appear in the film Trekking with Quijote: A Journey into the Soul of 21st Century Spain.

The recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes awards, Nadeau has been honored by the Spanish Ministry of Culture with Cultural Cooperation grants. She received Illinois Wesleyan's teaching excellence award in 2003.


Mike Young

Named 2013

Michael B. Young, Robert W. Harrington Professorship

Created as part of the Transforming Lives Campaign in 2010 by Bob Harrington, former chair of the University’s Business and Economics Department

Michael B. Young earned doctoral and master’s degrees from Harvard University after earning a bachelor of arts degree from Moravian College. He joined Illinois Wesleyan in 1970 and received the University’s teaching excellence award in 1987.

He specializes in the history of early modern England and Europe from the Renaissance to the French Revolution. He is the author of three books about the reigns of King Charles I and King James I of England. The most recent, James VI & I and the History of Homosexuality (New York University Press, 2000) examines the so-called favorites of King James in relation to the history of homosexuality.

Young received the inaugural James D. Dougan Award for Contributions to Faculty Governance in 2011. His service to the University includes membership on the Health Care Advocacy committee, Strategic Planning & Budgeting committee, and Faculty Handbook Review Committee in addition to service on two presidential search committees.


Ram Mohan

Named 2008
& 2013

Ram Mohan, Wendell and Loretta Hess Professorship of Chemistry

Established in 2012 by Wendell Hess, a professor of chemistry whose 27 years at IWU included a term as acting president in 1988

Ram Mohan was first named to the Beling Professorship in 2008, then to the Hess Professorship in 2013. He has received multiple research grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society and from Research Corporation.

Mohan was recognized for co-authoring an article in the international journal Tetrahedron that became one of the 50 most-cited articles from 2004-07. In 2003 he received the Young Observer Award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Mohan was the 2002 winner of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Distinguished Alumnus Award; a 2001 winner of the national Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award; and a recipient of Faculty Travel Awards from The American Chemical Society in 1997 and 1999.

Mohan has co-authored numerous articles with Illinois Wesleyan undergraduates as co-authors, and a 2007 article was recognized internationally as an innovative study of the reactivity of ionic liquids.


William Munro

Named 2013

William Munro, Betty Ritchie-Birrer '47 and Ivan Birrer Endowed Professorship

Established in 2013 by a major gift to the Transforming Lives Campaign to support a faculty member in Psychology or any of the Social Sciences

The 2012 winner of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, Professor of Political Science William Munro is a scholar of the politics of state formation and development in the global south, as well as the international food economy. He is the author of The Moral Economy of the State: Conservation, Community Development, and State-Making in Zimbabwe (Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1998), and co-author of Fighting for the Future of Food: Activists versus Agribusiness in the Struggle over Biotechnology (University of Minnesota Press, 2010).

Munro joined the Illinois Wesleyan faculty in 2000. He earned a doctorate in political science from Yale University, a bachelor's and master's degree from Cambridge University, and a bachelor's from Natal University in South Africa.

At Illinois Wesleyan, Munro has served as a director of the International Studies program and of the John and Erma Stutzman Peace Fellows Program and chaired the chair for the Technos Award Selection Committee. He has served as a faculty advisor to Amnesty International and the International House on campus. He was a member of the Committee for a Sustainable Campus and the First-Year Advisory Board.