Under the skylights of the grand Palm Court Lobby of the Jefferson Hotel, a group of 300 gathered to celebrate the donors and more than 50 faculty members who have recently been awarded endowed professorship and chair positions. An endowed faculty position is one of the highest honors the University bestows on its faculty.
Dr. Michael Rao, president of VCU and VCU Health, and Jay Davenport, vice president of development and alumni relations, gave opening remarks. Next, Dr. Peter Buckley, dean of the VCU School of Medicine, and Ed Grier, dean of the VCU School of Business, led the investiture ceremony.
Seven Pauley faculty were recognized with endowed positions (see sidebar). Among them was, Dr. Fadi Salloum, the Natalie N. and John R. Congdon Sr. Endowed Chair, who enjoyed sitting next to John and Leslie Congdon. John is the son of Jack and Natalie Congdon, who established the professorship.
“I feel extremely honored to be named the first Congdon Endowed Chair,” said Salloum, a basic and translational researcher whose interests include cardio-oncology, which lies at the intersection of cancer and cardiology. The Congdon family has long supported both Pauley and VCU’s Massey Cancer Center.
“The trust that has been put in me truly means a lot and the support from this endowment will enable me and my team to continue working towards making new discoveries to hopefully improve cardiovascular health through cutting-edge research,” said Salloum.
“I am certain they are smiling,” said John Congdon Jr., of his parents’ response on the selection of Salloum as the first chair. “When he talks about the research he’s doing or shows you around the facility, Fadi lights up with excitement and enthusiasm.”
Salloum will use the endowment to further advance in this field and others. “The trust that has been put in me truly means a lot and the support from this endowment will enable me and my team to continue working towards making new discoveries to hopefully improve cardiovascular health through cutting-edge research,” he said.
At another table, Dr. Keyur Shah was recognized as the new David E. Tolman, M.D. Professorship in Heart Failure. “It was a wonderful evening,” he said. Shah sat next to Keith Kissee, the donor who with friends created the professorship in memory of Tolman, a VCU heart failure specialist. “I am truly indebted to Keith and deeply respectful for all the efforts of Tolman. I am very grateful and humbled to receive this,” said Shah.
Because an endowed professorship or chair is attached to the name of a beloved donor or faculty member, “it gives the program institutional memory. The titles remind everyone of all the hard work and character and respect that has been built over decades by individuals here—it’s a generational connection,” said Shah.
To learn more about creating an endowed chair or professorship, please contact Carrie Mills, senior major gift officer, at (804) 828-0423 or Carrie.R.Mills@vcuhealth.org.
Congratulations to the following individuals, who received the following recognitions at the 2018 Investiture Ceremony:
• Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen, Martha M. and Harold W. Kimmerling, M.D. Chair in Cardiology
• Dr. Zachary Gertz, Hermes A. Kontos, M.D. Professorship in Cardiology
• Dr. Greg Hundley, George W. Vetrovec, M.D. Endowed Chair
• Dr. Mark Levy, H.M. Lee Professorship in Vascular Surgery
• Dr. Fadi Salloum, Natalie N. and John R. Congdon Sr. Endowed Chair
• Dr. Keyur Shah, David E. Tolman, M.D. Professorship in Heart Failure
• Dr. Daniel Tang, Richard R. Lower, M.D. Professorship in Cardiovascular Surgery
• A total of 14 VCU faculty involved in cardiac medicine or research now hold endowed chairs or professorships.
Dr. VigNeshwar Kasirajan (center), who holds the Stuart McGuire Professor and Department Chair, congratulates colleagues Drs. Keyur Shah and Zachary Gertz upon receiving endowed professorships.