University of Pittsburgh
September 25, 2001

Pitt Announces Creation of Donald M. Henderson Chair Distinguished Social Welfare Scholar and Social Work Dean to Assume Professorship That Honors Legendary Former Provost

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September 26, 2001

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg today announced the creation of a professorship honoring the former provost of the University, Donald M. Henderson. Chancellor Nordenberg also announced that Larry Davis, the dean of Pitt's School of Social Work, would be the inaugural Henderson Professor.

In making these announcements, Chancellor Nordenberg said: "Donald Henderson devoted his life to the University, and few have contributed more to its quality or its character. He was an inspiring figure to all of us who were lucky enough to work with him, and creating this chair will help memorialize his rich legacy. It is particularly exciting that Larry Davis, a nationally recognized scholar and a respected leader within his own discipline, will be the first Henderson Professor. We know that his work will be a source of pride—to Dr. Henderson, to the University, and to the community—for many years to come."

Davis became dean of Pitt's School of Social Work on Aug. 1. Prior to his recruitment to Pitt, he was the E. Desmond Lee Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, where he had served on the faculty since 1977. He has published numerous articles, chapters, and books based on his extensive research activities. His research focuses on race, gender, and class dynamics; adolescents and young adults; and small group behavior. Davis earned a B.A. degree at Michigan State University and Master's and Ph.D. degrees in psychology and social work at the University of Michigan.

"The Henderson chair will enable me to advance my research agenda while moving forward with my leadership responsibilities as dean of the school," Davis said. "That the chair is named for Donald Henderson, one of America's premier educators, is especially gratifying."

Henderson earned the Ph.D. degree in sociology from Pitt in 1967. He returned to the University as associate provost in 1970 and spent the rest of his career here. He served as the provost of the University from 1989 until his retirement in 1993. In that role, he was the institution's chief academic officer and had principal responsibility for all academic programs outside the health sciences. He also chaired the University-wide planning and budgeting committee. He is given special credit, among his many contributions, for his roles in helping establish the University Center for Social and Urban Research and in planning and developing the University Library System.

"It is an enormous honor," Henderson said, delighted that the University's most recently established endowed professorship will bear his name. "I hope I am as deserving of this honor as the University believes I am."