Four Women Who Have Been Named to Endowed Chairs at Major Universities

Anita Raj was appointed to the Nancy Reeves Dreux Endowed Chair at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. She will also serve as the executive director of Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute, effective July 1, 2023. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Professor Raj comes to Tulane from the University of California, San Diego, where she is an inaugural Tata Chancellor Professor of Society and Health and founding director of the Center on Gender, Equity and Health. Her research focuses on sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, women’s empowerment and gender inequalities, including gender-based violence and child marriage.

Dr. Raj earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Mississippi College. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Georgia.

Rhonda Y. Williams was named to the Coleman A. Young Endowed Chair in the department of African American studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, effective for the 2023-24 academic year. In this role, she plans to focus on humanistic research and on developing working relationships with Detroit’s formidable activist community to help further social justice causes. She was the inaugural holder of the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Earlier, she taught at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, where she established and directed the Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies, and founded and directed the university-wide Social Justice Institute. Her latest book is Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (Routledge, 2014).

Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Amy Laurel Fluker was reappointed to the Robert W. Reeder I Memorial Endowed Professor of History at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Dr. Fluker’s research focuses on the intersection between regional identity and Civil War commemoration in the American West. She joined the faculty at Youngstown State in 2018.

Dr. Fluker holds a bachelor’s degree in American history from Westminster College in Missouri and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Mississippi.

Stacey Abrams was named the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Abrams served for 10 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, where she was the first woman and first African American to serve as minority leader. Abrams ran for governor of Georgia in 2018 and 2022.

Abrams earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Spelman College in Atlanta. She holds a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a juris doctorate at Yale Law School.

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