Endowed Professorships

At a time of unprecedented activity in the area of global sustainability, scholars and researchers working in environmental engineering at WPI are superbly positioned to contribute new knowledge and innovative solutions to the most pressing environmental challenges of our day.

WPI's national and international reputation is built largely through the scholarly endeavors and teaching talents of its faculty, and like all prestigious universities, WPI faces increasing competition for outstanding scholars and educators. Professorships are the highest honors that the professoriate can attain. By naming a highly coveted professorship at WPI and providing the critical means for recruiting, retaining, and rewarding gifted faculty members, professorship donors help the university meet the world’s ever-growing demand for a knowledgeable and skilled workforce.

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Professorship Spotlight

Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professor

The Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professor Endowed Fund was established by Robert E. Balmat III ’68 to support distinguished senior faculty at WPI whose research interest is in physical metallurgy. The professorship honors Balmat’s father, Robert Essebe Balmat Jr., who had always held an interest in metallurgy and encouraged his son to pursue the field. 

Thomas Christiansen, mechanical and materials engineering professor and director of the Center for Heat Treating Excellence (CHTE), is the Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professor. Seen here working with students, Christiansen has more than 20 years of experience in thermochemical surface engineering and heat treatment of metallic materials. His research interests are gas-metal interactions, high-interstitial alloys, (thermochemical) surface engineering and microstructure optimization for improving materials performance—for example via heat treatment. 

“The Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean's Professor Endowed Fund and the resources it provides to support teaching and research, were critical to WPI’s success recruiting a world-class metallurgist of Dr. Christiansen’s accomplishment and reputation,” says John McNeill, the Bernard M. Gordon Dean of WPI’s School of Engineering. “We are deeply pleased and proud to have him as director for the Center for Heat Treating Excellence, carrying on CHTE’s role in driving WPI’s leadership in this field.”

Robert's headshot

George I. Alden Chair of Engineering

The George I. Alden Chair in Engineering is awarded to a WPI faculty member in recognition of outstanding teaching in the field of engineering.

Recipient: Robert W. Hyers, Materials &Mechanical Engineering


Thomas Christansen

Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professorship

The Robert Essebe Balmat Jr. Dean’s Professor Endowed Fund was created by Robert E. Balmat, III to support distinguished senior faculty at WPI whose cutting-edge research or interest is in physical metallurgy.

RecipientThomas Christiansen, Mechanical & Materials Engineering


Rosanna Garcia

Paul R. Beswick ‘57 Professorship

The Paul R. Beswick ’57 Professorship of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to attract and support world-class scholars and teachers for the university’s Department of Management.

Recipient: Rosanna Garcia, Business, Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professorship of Humanities

The Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities is awarded to the head of the WPI Department of Humanities and Arts in recognition of fine teaching and to enhance opportunities for scholarship and research.

Recipient: Kathryn Moncrief, English


George F. Fuller Professorship in Mechanical Engineering

The George F. Fuller Professorship in Mechanical Engineering was established in 1964 by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation to support an engineering chair in mechanical engineering.

Recipient: Richard Sisson, Mechanical Engineering

  Harold J. Gay Professorship in Mathematics

The Harold J. Gay Professorship in Mathematics was established for the encouragement of younger faculty working in mathematical sciences. The professorship supports faculty who have demonstrated potential for achievement that might fittingly honor the memory of Professor Gay.

Recipient: To be awarded


John McNeill Headshot

Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering

The Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering is a distinguished leader and engineering educator who has demonstrated excellence in all relevant areas of faculty performance – including teaching, research, advising and scholarship. They also possess the administrative leadership to direct a program centered on the principles of innovation, collaboration, and excellence.

Recipient: John A. McNeill, Electrical & Computer Engineering


Rick Brown

Weston Hadden Endowed Professorship in Electrical Engineering

Honoring the memory of Weston Hadden 1922, this endowed professorship was made possible by a bequest from the late Weston Hadden whose entire career as an electrical engineer was with the New York Telephone Company. The professorship is to provide attractive support for personal research, professional development, and travel.

Recipient: D. Richard Brown, Electrical & Computer Engineering


Kristen Billliar

John Woodman Higgins Professorship in Engineering

John Woodman Higgins was a son of Milton Prince Higgins, the first superintendent of the Washburn Shops. WPI established this professorship in 1988 in gratitude for the 31 years of service that Milton P. Higgins II devoted to WPI as a member of its board of trustees.

Recipient: Kristen Billiar, Biomedical Engineering


Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professorship in Manufacturing

Milton Prince Higgins represented the third generation of his family to serve on the WPI Board of Trustees. While chairman of the Board of Trustees, he helped implement the WPI Plan.

Recipient: Diana A. Lados, Mechanical Engineering




Danielle Cote Headshot






Harold L. Jurist ’61 and Heather E. Jurist Dean’s Professorship

Distinguished faculty who are named the Jurist Dean’s Professors are pursuing cutting-edge research in one of WPI’s multidisciplinary concentrations: robotics, decision-making/autonomous robots, cyber security systems, biomedical devices/image analysis, climate change, sustainable fuels/energy, environmental science/adaption, and other disciplines closely aligned with these research areas.


Emmanuel Agu, Computer Science  

Danielle Cote, Mechanical & Materials Engineering  

Dmitry Korkin, Computer Science  

Pratap Rao, Mechanical and Materials Engineering  

Carolina Ruiz, Computer Science, Mathematical Science   


Leonard P. Kinnicutt Professorship

The Leonard P. Kinnicutt Professorship is for encouragement of younger faculty in their professional development. It was established to honor Leonard P. Kinnicutt, a professor who served on the WPI faculty from 1882 until his death in 1911. He was the first WPI professor with a doctorate; he specialized in sanitary chemistry.

Recipient: Patricia Zhang Musacchio, Chemistry & Biochemistry


Xiaowei Teng

James H. Manning Professorship 

James Manning, grew up in Fall River, MA to a family of modest means. He never forgot how he arrived at WPI with only $10 in his pocket and the dream of becoming an engineer, and how a loan made it possible for him to earn his degree and realize his ambition. In 1973, he and his wife Frances established and endowed the James H. Manning Scholarship Loan Fund to give, in perpetuity, that same opportunity to students.

Recipient: Xiaowei Teng, Chemical Engineering


Kenneth G. Merriam Professorship in Mechanical Engineering

The Kenneth G. Merriam Professorship in Mechanical Engineering was established to honor Kenneth G. Merriam who spent 30 years as head of WPI’s Aeromechanics Program and mentored many students into professional careers. The professorship awards an outstanding member of the Mechanical Engineering Department for a rotating term.

Recipient: Brajendra Mishra, Mechanical Engineering

  John C. Metzger Jr. Professorship in Chemistry

The John C. Metzger Jr. Professorship in Chemistry is awarded to the head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which is internationally recognized for its cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics with real-world applications.

Recipient: To be awarded


Selcok Guceri



Morgan - Worcester Distinguished Instructorship

The Morgan - Worcester Distinguished Instructorship supports a mechanical engineering professor for a three-year period. The purpose of this instructorship is to assist new promising faculty members to develop into outstanding teachers and professionals. 

Recipient: Selcuk Guceri, Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Recipient: John M. Suullivan, Mechanical & Materials Engineering

  Paul and Philip Morgan Professorship

Charles Hill Morgan, a WPI Trustee from 1866 to 1911, was the father of Paul Morgan. He started Morgan Construction Company. During the university’s early years, he was a WPI Trustee. Since WPI’s inception, the Morgan family has kept ties with the university by offering guidance and stability.

Recipient: To be awarded


Sara Sabieri

Norton Assistant Professorship

This chair was created by Norton Company in 1988 for a professor in Manufacturing Engineering or a related field to support a junior faculty member who has shown distinction and potential to be a leader in their field. 

RecipientSara Saberi, Industrial Engineering


Jean King

Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences

The Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences enables the university to recognize a distinguished scholar and educator who will be charged with overseeing the integration and expansion of WPI’s growing research programs in the life sciences and bioengineering departments.

Recipient: Jean King, Biology & Biotechnology

  Carol L. & Robert A. Peura Professorship in Biomedical Engineering

The professorship will support an outstanding faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in all relevant areas of faculty performance. The fund will be used for but not limited to recruitment and retention efforts, the purchase of equipment and materials, graduate student and/or research assistant stipends, conference travel, course release and professional development activities.

Recipient: To be awarded


Walter and Miriam B. Rutman Distinguished Professorship in Chemistry

The Walter and Miriam B. Rutman Distinguished Professorship in Chemistry is awarded to faculty whose superior and well-acknowledged accomplishments reflect teaching and research at the very forefront of modern chemistry. 

Recipient: Jose M. Arguello, Chemistry & Biochemistry


Ulkuhan Guler


Patrick Schaumont


Joseph Samuel S. Satin Distinguished Fellowship in Electrical Engineering

The Joseph Samuel S. Satin Distinguished Fellowship in Electrical Engineering is awarded annually to a member of WPI’s electrical engineering department to increase their individual research and studies.


Ulkuhan Guler, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Patrick Schaumont, Electrical Engineering



Alena and David M. Schwaber '65 Endowed Professorship

The Alena and David M. Schwaber ’65 Endowed Professorship is awarded to the director of WPI’s Environmental Engineering Program. Its purpose is to enable the university to recognize a distinguished scholar and educator in the field of environmental engineering within the interdisciplinary Environmental Engineering Program.

Recipient: Harold Webb Walker, Civil & Environmental Engineering


Sarah Wodin Schwartz

Russell M. Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering

The Russell M. Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering provides an opportunity for recognition and support of a young member of the mechanical engineering faculty. This instructorship was set up as a memorial to Russell M. Searle and an inspiration to future faculty at WPI.

Recipient: Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, Material Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering

  John E. Sinclair Professorship

This John E. Sinclair Professorship was created by Professor Sinclair in the early 1900’s to support a professor in Mathematics.  Dr. Sinclair and his children created this professorship to show affection for the Institute and gratitude for all the opportunities afforded to him and his family.

Recipient:  To be awarded






Brian Savilonis


Professor Gottlieb



Elke Rundensteiner


Mike Timko Headshot


Yan Wang



William B. Smith Professorship

The William B. Smith Professorship has preference for the Mechanical Engineering Department and is awarded on a rotating term basis. Smith was an enthusiastic supporter of all 'Tech' activities and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering in 1949. 


Brian Savilonis, Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Roger Gottlieb, Philosophy

Neil Heffernan, Computer Science

Elke Rundensteiner, Computer Science

Michael Timko, Chemical Engineering

Yan Wang, Mechanical Engineering

Jing Xiao, Robotics Engineering


William R. Steur Professorship

In addition to generously supporting WPI in many ways, William R. Steur ’35 funded the William R. Steur Professorship with a generous bequest. Mr. Steur greatly appreciated all WPI did for him and wanted to give back to the WPI Community through his estate. 

Sarah Olson, Mathematical Sciences


Harry Stoddard Endowed Professorship in Management

The Harry Stoddard Professorship is awarded to a member of the WPI department of Management faculty and beyond salary provides for professional research and development.

Recipient: Debora Jackson, Business


Richard T. Whitcomb Professorship

Richard T. Whitcomb ‘43 made supersonic flight a practical reality joining such luminaries as the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, and WPI's own Robert Goddard '08. The Richard T. Whitcomb Professorship shall be used to provide financial assistance for one or more professors in the Department of Chemistry and/or Biochemistry.

Recipient: Suzanne Scarlata, Chemistry & Biochemistry


Nima Rahbar

Ralph H. White Family Professorship

Established in 1987, the Ralph H. White Family Distinguished Professorship supports the departments of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. The professorship shows Ann and Leonard ‘41 White’s and Shirley and David ‘75 White’s loyalty, trust, commitment toward WPI.

Recipient: Nima Rahbar, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering


Bajendra Mishra

Donald N. Zwiep Faculty Award

The Donald N. Zwiep Faculty Award is awarded to a tenured faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishments and excellence in teaching and research and whose accomplishments will strengthen the capabilities and reputation of the department. Zwiep was the longest serving academic department head in WPI history.

Recipient: Brajendra Mishra, Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Name a Professorship

With over 30 named Professorships and Chairs, WPI’s generous donors have played a vital role in recruiting and maintaining world-class faculty for the university. Each named professorship brings its own distinct history and legacy to the named faculty member and continues to make WPI a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community. These coveted positions are awarded to faculty whose forward-thinking innovation and cutting-edge research will lead the way to tomorrow’s academic breakthroughs.

WPI’s named professors are making outstanding contributions in their fields, and these donors recognize the importance of their work on a global scale. There are several ways by which an endowed professorship can be established to commemorate the name of a loved one, a family member, or an inspirational teacher. The Division of University Advancement will be happy to explore a variety of possibilities with you. For more information contact Thea Marcoux, Executive Director of Donor Strategy and Stewardship, at tlmarcoux@wpi.edu.