FEATURES • Winter 2002
William Greenleaf Eliot Wayman Crow

The tradition of endowing professorships at Washington University dates back to 1856 when Wayman Crow, one of the University's co-founders, endowed a professorship in chemistry in William Greenleaf Eliot's name.

Since the Campaign for Washington University was publicly announced in September 1998, 115 new endowed professorships have been established, bringing the total number the University has to 253. As the number of endowed professorships rises, so does the excellence of the University's faculty. Bestowing a faculty member with an endowed professorship is the highest honor a university can give to one of its members. This high honor helps attract and retain the best faculty, which in turn helps the University attract the best students.

The tradition of endowing professorships at Washington University dates back to 1856 when Wayman Crow, one of the University's co-founders, endowed a professorship in chemistry in William Greenleaf Eliot's name. Crow was honoring his colleague and co-founder and underscoring the importance of endowment for an independent institution of higher learning. (Images at top of page courtesy of Washington University archives.)

 
Joseph J. H. Ackerman (second from right) is the current William Greenleaf Eliot Professor of Chemistry. Ackerman also is the chair of the Department of Chemistry.

The first holder of the William Greenleaf Eliot Professorship of Chemistry was John M. Schofield, 1857-1862. Subsequent holders included Abram Litton, 1862-1891; Charles R. Sanger, 1899; Edward Harrison Keiser, 1900-1913; Leroy McMaster, 1922-1946; Joseph W. Kennedy, 1950-1957; John Sowden, 1957-1962; and David Lipkin, 1966-1981, when he became Eliot Professor Emeritus.

The current holder is Joseph J. H. Ackerman, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences, and professor in both the Department of Internal Medicine and in the Department of Radiology at the School of Medicine. Ackerman is known internationally for his contributions to the application and development of nuclear magnetic resonance techniques for the study of intact living systems.