Three Women Scholars Who Have Been Named the Inaugural Holders of New Endowed Chairs

Claudia Swan has been named the inaugural Mark Steinberg Weil Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis. A specialist in early modern northern European art, Swan joined the department of art history and archaeology at Washington University in 2021 after teaching at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Her work on early modern art and visual culture explores the intersections of art history, the history of science, material culture studies, and the history of global trade and politics. Her latest book is Rarities of These Lands: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Dutch Republic (Princeton University Press, 2021).

Professor Swan earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. She also holds a master’s degree in art history from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Rebecca Ryals was named the inaugural Presidential Chair in Climate Change at the University of California, Merced. The chair is one of two being established by a $1 million gift to the university from an anonymous donor in support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professorships for research focused on climate change. Professor Ryals is an agro-ecologist who addresses questions of ecosystem-based solutions to climate change and sustainable food production. She joined the faculty at the university in 2018.

Dr. Ryals is a graduate of Marywood University in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, where she majored in environmental science. She holds a master’s degree in ecosystem science and management from Duke University and a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.

Danielle Benoit, an expert in therapeutic biomaterials, was named the inaugural holder of the Lorry Lokey Chair in the department of bioengineering at the University of Oregon. She was the William R. Kennan Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Rochester in New York. Dr. Benoit specializes in the design of materials to improve disease treatments and expedite recovery from injuries. She holds 10 patents.

Professor Benoit is a graduate of the University of Maine, where she majored in biological engineering. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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