Willa Cather & Charles Bessey Professorships


Stipend: $5,000

Discipline: Open

Eligibility: Full Professor

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Willa Cather and Charles Bessey professorships were established in 2001 by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to recognize faculty members with the rank of full professor who have established exceptional records of distinguished scholarship or creative activity. Individuals awarded the professorship may elect either the Cather or Bessey designation. They are known as Cather or Bessey professors and professor of (field). The professorships, which carry a $5,000 stipend, are awarded for five-year terms and appointments may be renewed following review in the fifth year.

Willa Cather
Willa Cather

The professorships recognize two individuals associated with the early University of Nebraska. Willa Cather, a University of Nebraska alumna and winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for her novel "One of Ours," is widely recognized as one of America's premiere authors. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln holds a large scholarly archive of Cather's writings, letters and other items; is home to the digital Willa Cather Archive; and numerous UNL scholars are engaged in ongoing scholarship concerning Cather and her works.

Charles Bessey, an NU professor at the turn of the 20th century, was a botanist and educator. Bessey joined the faculty in 1884 and served as Chancellor from 1888 to 1891 and again from 1899 to 1900. Recognized for his pioneering science, including among other interests the ecology of the prairie, Bessey served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and editor of Science magazine.

Charles Bessey
Charles Bessey

Past Recipients

Year Recipient Professorship Department
2017 Susan Hermiller Willa Cather Professorship Mathematics
2017 Timothy Gay Willa Cather Professorship Physics and Astronomy
2017 David DiLillo Willa Cather Professorship Psychology
2016 Gwendolyn Foster Willa Cather Professorship English
2016 Rodney Moxley Charles Bessey Professorship Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
2016 Melanie Simpson Willa Cather Professorship Biochemistry
2016 Kimberly Tyler Willa Cather Professorship Sociology
2015 Stephen DiMagno Willa Cather Professorship Chemistry
2015 Sebastian Elbaum Charles Bessey Professorship Computer Science & Engineering
2014 Alexei Gruverman Charles Bessey Professorship Physics & Astronomy
2014 Jordan Stump Willa Cather Professorship Modern Languages & Literatures
2014 Susan Swearer Willa Cather Professorship Educational Psychology
2014 Mark Walker Willa Cather Professorship Mathematics
2013 Donald Becker Charles Bessey Professorship Biochemistry
2013 Hong Jiang Willa Cather Professorship Computer Science & Engineering
2012 Rick Bevins Willa Cather Professorship Psychology
2012 Srikanth Iyengar Willa Cather Professorship Mathematics
2011 David Berkowitz Willa Cather Professorship Chemistry
2011 Paul Black Charles Bessey Professorship Biochemistry
2011 Helen Raikes Willa Cather Professorship Child, Youth & Family Studies
2011 Janos Zempleni Willa Cather Professorship Nutrition & Health Sciences
2010 James Alfano Charles Bessey Professorship Plant Pathology
2010 Paul Blum Charles Bessey Professorship School of Biological Sciences
2010 Andrzej Rajca Charles Bessey Professorship Chemistry
2010 Elizabeth Theiss-Morse Willa Cather Professorship Political Science
2009 Sidnie White Crawford Willa Cather Professorship Classics & Religious Studies
2009 Patrick Dussault Charles Bessey Professorship Chemistry
2008 Blair Siegfried Charles Bessey Professorship Entomology
2007 Dawn O. Braithwaite Willa Cather Professorship Communication Studies
2007 Yiqi Yang Charles Bessey Professorship Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
2006 Allan Peterson Charles Bessey Professorship Mathematics
2005 Marjorie Langell Charles Bessey Professorship Chemistry
2005 John David Logan Willa Cather Professorship Mathematics
2003 David Cahan Charles Bessey Professorship History
2003 Patricia Crews Willa Cather Professorship Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
2003 Carolyn Pope Edwards Willa Cather Professorship Psychology
2003 Karen Kunc Willa Cather Professorship Art & Art History
2002 Peter Dowben Charles Bessey Professorship Physics & Astronomy
2002 Clinton Jones Charles Bessey Professorship Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
2002 Carole Levin Willa Cather Professorship History