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$3 Million Professorship Program Continues UNC, Duke Collaboration

Two distinguished professors will teach at Carolina and at Duke University next year as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two schools.

Harvard professor Peter Gomes, who delivered the 2005 Commencement address at Carolina, and New York University professor Dr. J. Lawrence Aber, a child development specialist, will teach jointly as recipients of the Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship, named for the former president of Duke.

Provosts at UNC and Duke selected Gomes and Aber in consultation with an advisory committee comprising faculty from each university.

Recipients, who spend about six months at each university, receive up to $50,000 for travel, research and related expenses. They are responsible for contributing to the teaching mission and undergraduate curriculum at both universities, delivering at least one major public lecture and promoting collaboration and the enhancement of intellectual life.

Gomes will teach at UNC in spring 2008, Aber in fall 2007. The yearlong professorship was created in 2004 to honor Keohane’s contributions toward advancing collaboration between the two universities.

“It is wonderful to welcome Dr. Gomes back to Chapel Hill and to introduce Dr. Aber to the leading academic institutions in the Tar Heel state,” Executive Associate Provost Steve Allred ’74 said. “Both men have distinguished themselves in their fields, and they will be fine additions to the longstanding history of collaboration between Carolina and Duke.”

Gomes has been Plummer professor of Christian morals and Pusey minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University since 1974. He is recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished preachers and has been profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes and in The New Yorker, among other national media outlets.

Gomes has written national best-selling books, including The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living. He participated in the presidential inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He has received 30 honorary degrees, including one from Carolina.

Aber is professor of applied psychology and public policy at New York University. His research examines the influence of violence and poverty in families and communities as it relates to child development.

Aber has conducted several government- and privately funded studies. His recent publications include Child Development and Social Policy: Knowledge for Action and Assessing the Impact of September 11th, 2001 on Children, Youth and Parents.

Aber has applied his research to local and international community service, this year accepting an appointment to the Commission for Economic Opportunity, an initiative to reduce poverty in New York. He is an international board member for The Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and is chair of the board of directors for the Forum for Youth Investment in Washington, D.C. He is an honorary fellow at the University of London’s Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues and is a board member for the William T. Grant Foundation, which supports research to improve young people’s lives.

Half of the $3 million needed to create the professorship bearing Keohane’s name was pledged as a challenge by Carolina graduate Julian Robertson ’55 and his wife, Josie, of New York, who also funded the Robertson Scholars Program, a joint merit-based scholarship program at Carolina and Duke. The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust provided the remaining $1.5 million. The trust has been among Carolina’s most generous benefactors and also has supported the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke.


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