Heather Williams Appointed Presidential Professor and Professor of Africana Studies

Heather Andrea Williams has been named the sixth Presidential Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1. Williams will be Presidential Professor and Professor of Africana Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Williams is one of the world’s leading historians of the experience of slavery in the 19th century. Her award-winning first book, Self-Taught: African-American Education in Slavery and Freedom, argued that education was inseparable from the fight against slavery. It used extensive archival research to retrace the importance of literacy for African Americans across the 19th century, from the pre-Civil War era through emancipation and its aftermath. Her second book, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, charts the decades-long searches that followed the forced separations of African American families by slavery, especially in the 1860s and 1870s. 

Williams’ work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation and National Humanities Center, among others. She earned a Ph.D. in American studies in 2002 from Yale University.

Presidential Professorships, supported in part by a $2 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and originating in the Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence, first issued in 2011, are awarded to exceptional scholars, of any rank, who contribute to faculty eminence through diversity across the University.

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Arts & Sciences News

The Power of Penn Arts & Sciences

On April 12, 2018, the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences fundraising campaign was announced by the Board of Overseers. Launched in conjunction with the University’s Power of Penn campaign, it aims to raise $550 million for the School of Arts and Sciences.

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2018 Penn Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholars

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Joseph Subotnik Named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor

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Two Penn Arts and Sciences Professors Named Guggenheim Fellows

Charles L. Bosk, Professor of Sociology, and Charles Yang, Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science, have been awarded 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships.

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Ahmad Family Endowment Supports Penn Global Seminars

Hyder Ahmad, W’90, and his family have made a generous gift to establish the Ahmad Family Endowment for Penn Global Seminars in Arts and Sciences.

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Abraham Nitzan Named Donner Professor of Physical Sciences

Abraham Nitzan, Professor of Chemistry, has been named Donner Professor of Physical Sciences. Nitzan’s research focuses on the interaction of light with molecular systems, chemical reactions in condensed phases and interfaces and charge transfer processes in such environments.

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2018 Teaching Award Recipients Announced

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of Penn Arts and Sciences, and Paul Sniegowski, Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, have announced the recipients of the 2018 awards for distinguished teaching in the School.

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College Graduation Speakers for 2018 Revealed

Angela Duckworth, G’03, GR’06, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology, will address the Class of 2018 at the graduation ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences on Sunday, May 13, 2018. She will be joined by student speaker Helena von Nagy, C’18.

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Individualized Care Will Become the Standard for Depression Patients

In a new paper for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, researchers Robert DeRubeis, Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences, and Zachary Cohen of Psychology, address precision medicine, also known as customized-care, in the context of treatment for depression.

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Restoring Vacant Lots Reduces Gun Violence and Crime

In cities across the U.S., about 15 percent of land is considered vacant or abandoned. These areas can foster criminal activity, and urban residents, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, often view vacant land as a threat to their health and safety.

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Robert DeRubeis: Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences

Professor of Psychology Robert DeRubeis has been named the Samuel H.

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