A celebration of science

Five UF Health professors were recently recognized for having been named to an endowed professorship or chair — one of the highest honors a college can bestow upon faculty members.

The UF Health Science Center’s fourth annual Celebrating Distinction Ceremony, which took place Oct. 22 at the McKnight Brain Institute, began with a welcome from David S. Guzick, M.D., PhD., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. Guzick acknowledged the newly appointed professors and chairs present at the event as well as the benefactors whose endowments established the prestigious honors.

He also touched on the rich history behind endowed professorships and chairs, noting that the concept began with Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who created endowed chairs for each of the schools of philosophy. The idea continued into the modern world thanks to Lady Margaret Beaufort, grandmother of King Henry VIII, who established named chairs at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

Today, endowed professorships and chair positions are not only a great honor for faculty, but they also help fuel new research, Guzick said.

“Our researchers can continue to push the boundaries of their field in new directions,” he said.

The installation ceremony continued as College of Medicine Dean Michael L. Good, M.D., and College of Veterinary Medicine Dean James W. Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D., congratulated their respective faculty members and presented each of them with a wooden chair fashioned with an engraved plaque on the back.

College of Medicine honorees included two college alumni: Pam Patton, PA-C, M.S.P., associate professor and director of admissions for UF’s School of Physician Assistant Studies and a 1978 graduate of UF’s PA program; and Steven DeKosky, M.D., deputy director of the McKnight Brain Institute, a prominent Alzheimer’s disease researcher and a 1974 graduate of the College of Medicine.

“Looking forward, I think these endowments are the future of academic medicine,” Good said.

College of Medicine

  • Ronald A. Cohen, Ph.D.
    Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Clinical Translational Research in Cognitive Aging
  • Steven DeKosky, M.D.
    Rene Aerts/Virginia J. Cosper Professorship in Alzheimer’s Research
  • Pam Patton, PA-C, M.S.P.
    William M. Hall Professorship in Physician Assistant Studies
  • Biagio “Bill” A. Pietra, M.D.
    Virginia Sutherland Root Professorship of Pediatric Cardiology Fund

College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Natalie Isaza, D.V.M.
    The Grevior Shelter Medicine Community Outreach Professorship

All photos by W. Charles Poulton