Endowed Chairs

The following fully endowed chairs have been established by the Board of Trustees. The titles of individuals holding named chairs may vary slightly.

The Charles E. and Margery B. Anderson Chair of Humanities was established in 1997 by the Board of Trustees to recognize Mr. and Mrs. Anderson’s leadership, dedication, and philanthropy to Whitman College. Major gifts came from the Andersons and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Anderson served as a trustee from 1990 to 2002.

The George Hudson Ball Chair in the Humanities was established in 2010 with gifts from hundreds of alumni and friends in honor of Professor of Biblical Literature Emeritus Dr. George Ball on his 95th birthday. This position strengthens teaching and learning in the humanities.

The Catharine Gould Chism Chair of Music was established in 1980 by the Board of Trustees from the bequest of Catharine Gould Chism, a patron of the arts.

The Roger and Davis Clapp Chair of Economic Thought was founded in 1966 by James H. Clapp of Seattle as a memorial to his brothers. The professorship was given “to further understanding of 1) the development of economic thought through the ages; 2) the development and continuing values in the Western free enterprise system; and 3) how those values, developed in the past, have continuing application in today’s complex society.”

The Raymond and Elsie Gipson DeBurgh Chair in the Social Sciences was funded in 2002 with the remainder of a unitrust established by the DeBurghs. This endowment funds a position to teach courses in the social sciences.

The William K. and Diana R. Deshler Chair was established in 2008 by Bill and Diana Sharp Deshler, both Whitman Class of 1964, to provide support for a distinguished tenure-track faculty member. The Deshlers have been Whitman supporters and volunteers for years. Bill was a trustee for 12 years, serving until his death in 2008. This chair is assigned to a teacher-scholar in the department with the most pressing need. Special consideration is to be given to the departments of art, history, and math.

The William O. Douglas Chair in Constitutional Law and American Jurisprudence was established in 2013 to support the teaching of constitutional law as an essential component of a liberal arts curriculum.

The Baker Ferguson Chair of Politics and Leadership was established in 1996 in honor of Baker Ferguson, a 1939 Whitman alumnus, trustee emeritus, and consistent supporter of Whitman College.

The Ludwig Gaiser Chair of Art History was established in 1982 by the Gaiser family to honor this eminent clergyman of the Northwest whose nine children all attended the college.

The John and Jean Henkels Chair of Chinese Languages and Literatures was established in 1987. The Henkels are parents of three Whitman alumni, and John Henkels served on the Board of Overseers from 1986 to 2001.

The Herbert and Pearl Ladley Chair of Cognitive Science was established in 2004 by Frankie Ladley Wakefield ’27 in memory of her parents, who made it possible for her to pursue a liberal arts education at Whitman College. The endowment funds a position in the interdisciplinary field combining psychology and biology.

The Alma Meisnest Endowed Chair in the Humanities was established in 1999 with proceeds from the estate of Alma Meisnest, a friend of the college.

The Judge and Mrs. Timothy A. Paul Chair of Political Science was established by George N. Paul ’35 with a bequest in memory of his parents. Timothy A. Paul was a Superior Court Judge in Walla Walla County during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Carl E. Peterson Chair of Science was established in 1997 in memory of Carl E. Peterson ’33. Mr. Peterson was an overseer and longtime member and chairman of the Whitman College Farm Committee (1970-1989).

The Laura and Carl Peterson Chair of Social Sciences was established in 1997 with a bequest from the Carl Peterson estate. Laura Crump Peterson, a 1936 alumna and volunteer who devoted many hours to the Delta Gamma active chapter, joined her husband in financial support of the college.

The Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History was established in 1994 in honor of Whitman’s 10th president by a gift from Dr. Elizabeth Main Welty, long-time college trustee, and a bequest from the estate of Dr. Robert Ford Welty ’35.