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Hi,

so what does it mean when you see that a professor is the "insert someone's name here" professor?  I keep seeing all these profs that are the "Newton Yada Yada Professor of English" or something like that.  Is it ok to pursue these profs as POIs?  Sorry if this is a ridiculous question.  I'm assuming that this is just a professorship supported in some way by a fund or fellowship, but I just want to be sure.
Thanks in advance!

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 I'm assuming that this is just a professorship supported in some way by a fund or fellowship, but I just want to be sure.

 

Yep. Basically, some old guy (or maybe gal, but most of the time guy) gave a bunch of money to take the next step beyond having a building named after them and got a person named after them. Or it's in honor of a professor emeritus that held that position for X years.

 

I think it's perfectly prudent to pursue those professors as POI's. Usually, having an endowed position means the department/university thought enough of you to give specifically allocated money to your job/research. I might do a little bit of research on how involved some of them are as a few of them have probably gotten to the point of being a figurehead more than an active member of the department. Just my instinct.

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Full professors with named chairs are not just fair game, they are generally the best people to target and seek out as advisors - they are the most established and known in the field and thus the most able to help you. Yes, a possible trade-off is that if they are really superstars they might be quite busy, but that can be true of any academic. If they're in your field, it would be a mistake not to mention them in your SoP - you don't want to talk about only junior scholars.

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Yep. Basically, some old guy (or maybe gal, but most of the time guy) gave a bunch of money to take the next step beyond having a building named after them and got a person named after them. 

 

Haha. I thoroughly enjoy this description.

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