Four women with close ties to the Graduate School of Education (GSE) have joined together to endow the University's first professorship in gender studies.
Psychologist Carol A. Gilligan has been named the first Patricia Albjerg Graham professor of the gender studies. The chair is named for Graham, who served as the GSE dean from 1982 to 1991.
Graham, who is currently the Warren professor of the history of American education at the GSE, was the first woman, and the only woman to date, to serve as dean of a Harvard school.
"It's particularly fitting that this initiative was sparked by alumnae, was embraced by women who have provided leadership to the School and celebrates a beloved and accomplished dean," said current GSE Dean Jerome T. Murphy in a news release.
The $2.5 million endowment is the gift of Elisabeth A. Hobbs and Emily H. Fisher-who received master's degrees in education from the GSE in 1961-and two other anonymous women donors.
Gilligan, formerly professor of education, is known for her research on women's and girls' psychological and moral development. She is the author of In a Different Voice (1982), which explored how women view human relationships.
"Carol Gilligan's influential work has truly changed the dynamic of the classroom and helped educators to better teach all students," Murphy said in the release.
Hobbs and Fisher said their desire to develop the professorship grew out of their common enthusiasm for the work of Gilligan and Assistant Professor of Education Ann G. Rogers.
"In addition to recognizing faculty contributions, we wanted to give the subject permanence and visibility," Fisher said in the news release.
The effort to establish the endowed chair in Graham's honor was aided by a $500,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation in July.
The GSE will celebrate the new endowment by hosting a forum on gender issues Monday night with Gilligan, Gloria Steinem and other scholars.