Create a Professorship
Your gift helps us establish professorships that attract and retain the best teachers and researchers.
Professorships honor College of Sciences faculty who are leading the way in research, teaching and creativity. These endowed positions provide top faculty with funds and freedom to go beyond their everyday work and imagine the extraordinary.
Meet our professorship holders, and find out how philanthropic support enhances what they do.
Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Professor, Physics
How It Helps: The recognition allows me to recruit better students and postdocs. This is vital, as these are the boots on the ground that really do the work. The recognition also improves the opportunities for and success rate in attracting additional external resources. Most important, funding from the endowment allows me to be driven by curiosity and ingenuity and take risks — to tackle new projects and test new ideas that are too challenging or too preliminary to be funded in a risk-averse funding environment.
Why I’m Grateful: I am grateful because the funding allows me to be more productive with my research and to focus on putting together a first-rate Carbon Electronics cluster.
H. Thomas Banks
Leroy B. Martin Jr. Distinguished Professor, Mathematics
How It Helps: Coupled with our external grants, these funds enable me to expand significantly our research program to include more undergrads, grad students and postdocs, supporting both their salaries and their travel to conferences to make presentations of their research. The added national and international visibility benefits the students, our program and the university. Moreover, the funds have allowed me to recruit and retain top-notch students to NC State, the Center for Research in Scientific Computation and the department. This is especially helpful in an era of reduced national grant funding.
Why I’m Grateful: Since my primary focus is teaching and research, to enable and be a part of young people’s achievements and their individual growth is rewarding beyond expectations. These funds help me feel really good about my job because they allow me to help these students.
Drexel Professor of Physics
How It Helps: Because of this professorship, I have been able to give important invited talks at conferences, purchase high-speed networking equipment and recruit high-quality students. It also enables me to offer partial funding to support graduate students and their research.
Why I’m Grateful: This professorship is a substantial asset in helping me earn recognition from others in my field, recruit students, interact with high-performance computing companies, and participate in external review and oversight boards, funding agency reviews and so forth. It also helps in attracting funding and in-kind support from government agencies and laboratories, as well as industry.
Felix (Phil) Castellano
Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chair, Chemistry
How It Helps: With these resources, I will be able to expand our spectroscopic laboratory infrastructure, enabling new capabilities in ultrafast laser science at NC State. The funds will allow graduate students to attend additional scientific conferences and help support international collaborations. This professorship will enable partial support of doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in the future.
Why I’m Grateful: I consider this an amazing professional honor that recognizes the accumulated achievements of my research group over the past 19 years.
J. Stuart Hunter Distinguished Professor, Statistics
How It Helps: The professorship allows me to purchase new equipment and supplement existing grants to better benefit students. I am able to provide funding for my graduate students to travel to conferences and expose undergraduate students to new areas of research.
Why I’m Grateful: The professorship itself is an enormous honor. It brings you some satisfaction to know your work has been recognized as worthy of this. I’ve had 26 Ph.D. students over my career, and I hope I have had a positive impact on their lives. It enables me to really help students.
Drexel Professor of Mathematics
How It Helps: This funding helps me keep my computers up-to-date and supports my research collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It also subsidizes my travel, as well as travel for students. Without the Drexel funding, my students would not be able to travel to all the conferences they need to attend. This year, for example, I’m taking my students to the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering. The Drexel funds are supporting half of that expense.
Why I’m Grateful: I’m very pleased with the university’s recognition of my work. The funding enables me to do things for my students that make it easier to attract the best students in our program. The students know I have the budget for travel, computer repair and any books they need, and they share that with other students who are looking for an adviser. I’m able to be very selective when I look for new students. This has made a significant impact on the research from these projects and the job opportunities for the students who work on them.
Glaxo Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry
How It Helps: I have used these funds to cover items that federal grants do not support, including travel (to develop collaborations and disseminate knowledge) and purchasing laboratory items for research, and to explore new areas of science. For example, I am collaborating with Eric Miller of NC State’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology to explore the biosynthesis and function of novel natural products with unprecedented structures.
Why I’m Grateful: I am proud to hold the Glaxo chair. The annual allotment is crucial to launch the new projects I am embarking on that I expect to carry out over the next 30 years.
Drexel Professor of Mathematics
How It Helps: The professorship has allowed me to travel to meet new potential collaborators and to bring others to our campus. Given the interdisciplinary nature of my research, making these connections is vital to strengthening my research program. Existing grant funding — tied to specific projects — cannot be used for such trips, so I very much appreciate having access to funds that are not restricted to a specific project. The flexible funds provided by the professorship also allow me to send my graduate students to national and international meetings, which provide invaluable scientific and networking experiences for the students and enormously enrich their professional and scientific development.
Why I’m Grateful: Receiving the Drexel professorship was a great honor. It meant a great deal to receive recognition for my research accomplishments and contributions to graduate training. Having flexible funds opens up many possibilities for my research program and for my group: it offers possibilities to explore new avenues and create new collaborative connections and to provide opportunities for development of growth of myself and my students.
Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chair, Biological Sciences
How It Helps: The professorship is providing seed funding to obtain preliminary data for new research projects that will ultimately form the basis of new grant applications. These studies will involve undergraduate students, thus exposing the students to meaningful research experiences.
Why I’m Grateful: I am very honored to be one of the first Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chairs and am grateful for this recognition and support of my work.
Howard Schaeffer Distinguished Professor, Chemistry
How It Helps: The endowment provides critical funds to cover the ongoing shortfall of federal research funding. Over the last year, we have used the money to purchase research supplies, pay salaries and support travel to professional meetings. For example, it helped fund our latest discovery that is pioneering new ways to treat tuberculosis infections.
Why I’m Grateful: One great benefit of the professorship is that it helps boost my students’ resumes to have worked for a distinguished professor. It also provides funds to maintain my lab.
Jacob and Betty Belin Distinguished Professor, Chemistry
How It Helps: This professorship provides a lot of resources that allow us to do many different things, even at a moment’s notice. We’ve been able to pursue research and file two provisional patents with NC State. Furthermore, I’ve been able to put my students on the public stage to let them present their work and become the face of my research group.
Why I’m Grateful: It’s a really high honor to have a chaired professorship at any institution in any department. For me, it basically says that what I have been doing my entire career, working with students, mentoring students to help them become leaders, has been formally recognized with this named professorship.
R.A. Fisher Distinguished Professor, Statistics
How It Helps: The Fisher professorship will allow me to provide additional support to graduate students and to pursue novel research ideas that might be too risky and not sufficiently well-developed to generate their own funding immediately. Thus I can be more adventuresome with my research agenda.
Why I’m Grateful: It’s always nice to be acknowledged. I’ve been on the faculty 30-plus years. During those years I’ve worked hard as a researcher, a teacher and an administrator, and in service to the profession. The professorship is acknowledgement of those many years of dedicated service and quality research. It is particularly rewarding because the Fisher professorship was made possible by the generosity of many alumni, to whom I am especially grateful.
John S. Risley Distinguished Professor, Physics
How It Helps: I run the JETlab group, which focuses on atom cooling and trapping. In this large research group, the endowed professorship provides tremendous flexibility needed to explore and play with new ideas. The discretionary funds are extremely helpful. I have used them to provide support for new students who might otherwise not be able to join the group and recently to give additional support to a postdoc who wants to obtain a green card. I’m able to buy equipment that I don’t have to ask for, and to do it quickly.
Why I’m Grateful: I really appreciate the support. The flexibility for me is really very important. We explore a wide variety of ideas, and it is really nice to be able to make quick important decisions. If I need something, I do it. I really appreciate what is being done. It is very special.
Anastasios (Butch) Tsiatis
Gertrude M. Cox Distinguished Professor, Statistics
How It Helps: It’s given me the opportunity to focus on my research activities. I’ve used the money for buying equipment to help with my research. I’ve also used it to partially fund some of the students I work with. Also, I collaborate with people around the country and around the world, and this actually gives me some opportunity to travel and meet with my collaborators.
Why I’m Grateful: I’d like to thank those who helped create this, for supporting the department, and supporting this type of research. I think it is incredibly useful and helpful. I think it enhances the department and the profession and contributes to the world.