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Four named to Swanlund Chairs, university's premier endowed recognition

Sharita Forrest, News Editor

Released 9/26/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Four professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named Swanlund Chairs, the highest endowed titles at the university.

The new Swanlund Chairs are Tamer Basar, electrical and computer engineering; Nigel D. Goldenfeld, physics; Arthur F. Kramer, psychology; and Gene E. Robinson, entomology.

“I congratulate these accomplished faculty for their truly exceptional contributions to our university and to the broader society we serve,” said Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus. “Their creativity, innovative approaches and overall excellence are ultimately in service to nurturing the spark, the source, the wellspring at the heart of this great institution."

photo of Tamer Basar
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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Tamer Basar

Basar, who joined the faculty in 1981, is the Fredric G. and Elizabeth H. Nearing Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a professor in the Center for Advanced Study and is affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory and the Information Trust Institute. A June 2006 recipient of the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, the highest award given by the American Automatic Control Council, Basar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1983) and a fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control (2005). He has written or co-written more than 200 journal articles and book chapters and more than 250 conference publications. Basar’s current research interests include modeling and control of communication networks; control over heterogeneous networks; resource allocation, management and pricing in networks; robust distributed decision making under uncertainty; mobile and distributed computing; and game-theoretic approaches to security in computer networks.

Photo of Nigel Goldenfeld

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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Nigel Goldenfeld

Goldenfeld, who joined the faculty in 1985, is a professor of physics and leads research on the theme of biocomplexity in the Institute for Genomic Biology. His research interests include condensed matter theory, the growth of patterns such as snowflakes and materials microstructures, mathematical finance and quantitative biology.

Goldenfeld has received numerous awards, including an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the A.E. Nordsieck Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching a Xerox Award for Research and a National Science Foundation Creativity Award. He has been a University Scholar and a fellow in the Center for Advanced Study at Illinois. Goldenfeld is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Arthur F. Kramer
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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Arthur F. Kramer

Kramer, who earned a doctorate in cognitive/experimental psychology at Illinois and joined the faculty in 1984, is a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Human Perception and Performance Group and holds appointments in the department of psychology, the Institute of Aviation and the Campus Neuroscience Program. Co-chair of the Human-Computer Interaction main research theme at Beckman, Kramer is the director of the Biomedical Imaging Center and a co-director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Healthy Minds, a multidisciplinary research center at Illinois focused on improving cognitive function in older adults. Kramer is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters and is a member of seven editorial boards. His fields of professional interest are cognitive neuroscience, cognitive and brain plasticity, aging, attention, perception and human factors. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, a member of the executive committee of the International Society of Attention and Performance and a recent recipient of an NIH 10-year merit award.

Gene Robinson
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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Gene Robinson

Robinson is the G. William Arends Professor of Integrative Biology in the department of entomology, the director of the Bee Research Facility, the director of the Neuroscience Program, and leads research on the theme of neurogenomics at the Institute for Genomic Biology. Robinson’s other appointments include the departments of cell and developmental biology, animal biology, natural resources and the environment, and political science. Robinson, the author or co-author of more than 200 publications, pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and heads the Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium. Robinson has been honored as a University Scholar (1993), Fulbright Fellow (1996), Guggenheim Fellow (2003) and is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society (2006).

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2004) and the National Academy of Sciences (2005). He joined the faculty in 1989.

Basar, Goldenfeld, Kramer and Robinson will be recognized at a reception for campus-level named and endowed chairs on Oct. 3 and at an investiture ceremony to be held at a later date. They join 15 other scholars (see list) who were appointed to the Swanlund Chairs, made possible by a gift from alumna Maybelle Leland Swanlund.

Swanlund, who received a degree in library studies from Illinois in 1932 and who died in 1993, provided a $12 million endowment for chairs to attract leaders in the arts and sciences at the university and recognize current faculty members who have made exceptional contributions in their fields. The awards are for five years and may be renewed.

Swanlund Endowed Chairs

  • Tamer Basar, electrical and computer engineering (2007)
  • Nina Baym, English
  • May Berenbaum, entomology
  • Leon Dash, journalism
  • Nigel Goldenfeld, physics (2007)
  • Laura Greene, physics
  • William Greenough, psychology
  • Karl Hess, electrical and computer engineering
  • Ian Hobson, music
  • Frederick Hoxie, history
  • Benita Katzenellenbogen, molecular and integrative physiology
  • John Katzenellenbogen, chemistry
  • Arthur Kramer, psychology (2007)
  • Anand Pillay, mathematics
  • Richard Powers, English
  • Gene Robinson, entomology (2007)
  • Klaus Schulten, physics
  • Daniel Sullivan, theatre
  • Tom Ulen, law