Dickinson, Fitzgerald, VanderWolk Named to Chaired Professorships

Story posted October 04, 2006

The Bowdoin Board of Trustees recently named three professors — Patsy S. Dickinson, John M. Fitzgerald, and William C. VanderWolk — to chaired professorships at the College.

“These named professorships recognize faculty members who are leaders in their fields and in the Bowdoin academic community,” notes Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Judd. “They are part of the reason why our faculty is distinguished among liberal arts colleges today.”

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Patsy Dickinson

Neuroscience Chair Patsy Dickinson is the new Josiah Little Professor of Natural Sciences, one of the College’s oldest named professorships. She succeeds Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Emeritus John L. Howland.

Dickinson has been a leading force in developing Bowdoin’s undergraduate neuroscience program — which is widely considered among the best in the nation. Since joining the faculty in 1983, Patsy has published over 30 professional papers, received multiple research grants from the National Science Foundation and others, and been awarded fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her research focuses on the neuronal mechanisms that underlie the control of rhythmic movements and that allow for flexibility in behavior, using the crustacean nervous system as a model. She earned her bachelors degree at Pomona College and her masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Washington.

Professor of Economics John M. Fitzgerald is the new William D. Shipman Professor of Economics, succeeding the first recipient, Professor of Economics Emeritus A. Myrick Freeman III. The professorship was established in 1994 with a gift from Stanley F. Druckenmiller ’75.

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John Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, who joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1983, is a nationally recognized economist with research concerns that include public economics, econometrics, and poverty and redistribution programs. He is the author of over 30 professional papers, including a recent study of welfare reform published in Demography that was widely cited in the news media. He has received research grants and fellowships from many leading institutions, including the National Institute for Child Health Development, Joint Center for Poverty Research, National Science Foundation, and American Statistical Association. Fitzgerald earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Montana, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Professor of Romance Languages William C. VanderWolk is the new Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Professor of Modern Languages. The professorship began in 1829, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was selected to fill a professorship in French language at the College.

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William VanderWolk

VanderWolk is an accomplished scholar of French literature and history. His research focuses the ways in which personal experience shapes narrative, contributes to the formation of collective memory, and informs historiography. He is the author of several books, most recently, Victor Hugo in Exile: From Historical Representations to Utopian Vistas (Bucknell University Press, 2006). His articles have appeared in numerous professional journals, including La Revue Française, L'Esprit Créateur, and Romance Quarterly. VanderWolk has been a highly engaged member of the Bowdoin community since 1984. He has twice been chair of the department of romance languages and has served on many committees, including the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Committee on Governance. He earned his M.A. from Middlebury College and his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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