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University welcomes three endowed chairs at investiture ceremony

Endowed chairs are the hallmark of academic excellence and the ultimate recognition of faculty achievement. Funded through philanthropy, they are the most significant way to support the work of the most distinguished faculty members. At Boise State, endowed chairs contribute to strategic initiatives, are powerful tools for recruitment and retention, and are markers of the university’s prestige.

During a ceremony on Jan. 30, 2023, Boise State installed Ruth Jebe as the Robert V. Hansberger Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, Sam (Stephanie A.) Martin as the Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair in Public Affairs, and Emily Wakild as the Andrus Center for Public Policy Endowed Chair.

“We are amplifying faculty innovation at Boise State by focusing on endowed faculty positions that can elevate the success of our students and campus,” said Boise State President Dr. Marlene Tromp. “Recruiting and retaining high-caliber faculty researchers opens the doors to exciting research opportunities for our students, grows our impact, and produces findings that have real impacts in our community.”

Endowed positions provide chair-holders with funding for scholarships, teaching, research and service. Chairs typically receive their funding through the generosity of donors, and often carry a donor’s or special honoree’s name. Giving from the Hansberger family established the Robert V. Hansberger Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, and several donors, including board members, funded both the Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair in Public Affairs and the Andrus Center for Public Policy Endowed Chair.

“Through the generosity of Boise State donors we’ve been able to install these three impressive faculty members, whose expertise and scholarship have an enormous impact on the students they teach,” said Vice President for University Advancement Matthew Ewing. “Endowed chairs contribute to the university’s strategic initiatives and elevate the university’s prestige. Their intellectual capital contributes to the cultural and economic success of the region.”

Endowed chairs installation, Skaggs Hall, photo by Priscilla Grover

Ruth Jebe – Robert V. Hansberger Endowed Chair in Business Ethics

Ruth Jebe is an associate professor of legal studies at the College of Business and Economics. Since arriving at Boise State in 2016, Jebe has shown exemplary commitment to teaching and research in business ethics and corporate social responsibility. She has created an engaging learning environment in her classes by using immersive ethical dilemmas and fostering classroom discussion. In addition to Jebe’s teaching accomplishments, she has published in top business law journals. Her research explores ethical issues for multinational corporations and sustainability in business. Most recently, her article, “The U.S. Plastics Problem: The Road to Circularity,” appeared in the Environmental Law Reporter. As the inaugural Hansberger Chair, Jebe will lead the College of Business and Economics in teaching business ethics and conducting a dialogue on ethical professional and corporate decision-making. Outside of the classroom, she will develop programming to engage students and the broader community in exploring ethical issues in business.

Sam (Stephanie A.) Martin – Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair of Public Affairs

Sam Martin is a scholar of public affairs and political communication who was previously an associate professor of Communication & Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Her research on conservative social movements has been featured in national and international media and has been published in the top journals in media and communication. Martin has published three books, and her most recent book, “Decoding the Digital Church: Evangelical Storytelling and the Election of Donald J. Trump,” was a finalist for the Book of the Year of the Award for the Religious Communication Association Division of the National Communication Association, and was also Book of the Year for Word & Way. As Frank and Bethine Church Institute Endowed Chair, Martin will advance cross-partisan conversations in the Mountain West and seek to build civic trust among citizens.

Emily Wakild – Andrus Center for Public Policy Endowed Chair

Wakild joined the Boise State Department of History in 2012 and directed the Environmental Studies program from 2018-2022. She is an internationally recognized scholar of nature conservation and public lands and has published widely on environmental pedagogy. As Andrus Center Endowed Chair, Wakild will advance the center’s environmental and public lands mission by convening conversations about management challenges facing all levels of government from issues such as recreation and climate change.