Permanent Commitments, Lasting Solutions

Endowed Chairs Fight Food Scarcity Close to Home and Around the World

By:
Katy Smith,
Rod Wing and Sergio Valdez ’17 (Jacob Chinn photo)

Gary Paul Nabhan and Rod Wing are two of 115 endowed chairs at the University of Arizona. Like all endowed professorships, Nabhan’s W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and Wing’s Bud Antle Endowed Chair for Excellence in Agriculture and Life Sciences are long-term partnerships between exceptional scholars and donors who are deeply committed to a cause or field of study.

Gary Paul Nabhan (Michelle Burley photo)

Gary Paul Nabhan

“Food problems are still plaguing our community 100 years after our university was founded to deal with such issues,” says Gary Paul Nabhan, an ethnobiologist, author and activist.

Nabhan has devoted his career to developing social justice solutions. His appointment as an endowed chair provides a dedicated funding source for his efforts to improve conditions in the region surrounding the UA.

Rod Wing

Plant scientist Rod Wing addresses food problems farther afield.

“If we can’t grow enough food to feed 10 billion people by 2050, it will destabilize the whole world,” says Wing, whose endowed chair empowers him to explore the genes of cereal crops in search of hope for the global future.

Establishing an Endowed Chair

By establishing an endowed chair with a minimum $1 million donation, donors set up a funding source intended to last as long as the UA stands. Each gift’s principal remains intact while a percentage of the amount, known as the payout, funds the current chair holder’s work each year. These positions benefit many: students, who are granted opportunities to learn from accomplished mentors; a society struggling with formidable questions; and professors, like Nabhan and Wing, with the promise to find answers.