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I've got to cite the author of a text and her full title is

Jeanne Brett, DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations; Director of the Dispute Resolution Research Center

I'm at a loss, her name is Jeanne Brett so why is this person's name in her title? When I google "dewitt w. buchanan" all I get is entries for DeWitt W. Buchanan or this professor. What does it mean in academia terms, is this a prize, the name of an institute, an honorific title, is it important to cite it when talking about the professor?

I could have posted it to ELU, but it seems something very idiomatic to academia. So...help ?

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    It means she has a professorship called after 'DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr.', likely a wealthy individual who donated money in exchange for that vanity. – Cape Code Jun 10 '14 at 2:35
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    Actually, what lets me at loss is the rest of her title 'Professor of Dispute Resolution'... – Cape Code Jun 10 '14 at 2:39
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    @Jigg Well, apparently it's a thing... – Moriarty Jun 10 '14 at 8:11
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    I knew you could name a building, a scholarship, a prize, a ship after someone's name, but I had no idea about naming a position in an organisation. Why not "Kenneth Ellen Parcell, Jack Donaghy steward of VIP guests" ? It's very weird. – P. O. Jun 10 '14 at 14:42
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    ... and it gets worse. This person (chemistry.uchicago.edu/faculty/faculty/person/member/…) and many others have been "EPA Cephalosporin Junior Research Fellows", so their job is named after a guy and (indirectly) a fungus. – Steve Jessop Jun 10 '14 at 16:08
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You would list the "DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations" if you were, for instance, issuing a press release about Prof. Brett's accomplishments, or writing very formal correspondence. You might also mention it if you were introducing Prof. Brett in a seminar.

Under most normal circumstances, however, such information is not needed, and could come across as being almost pretentious.

As for what the "Dewitt W. Buchanan, Jr., Distinguished Professor" represents, it's what's known as an endowed chair or named chair. Mr. Buchanan was the person honored by the chair—either because he gave the money to establish the chair himself, or others gave the money on his behalf or in his honor.

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    +1 Putting commas in there because of the Jr. make this a little hard to parse. – GEdgar Sep 14 '16 at 13:27
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    Isn't the second comma superfluous and confusing? "DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations" makes it clearer that the name is part of the chair title. – Patricia Shanahan Sep 14 '16 at 14:33
  • @PatriciaShanahan: Per the pre-1993 Chicago Manual of Style, "within text, if you decide to use the more traditional comma before Jr. or Sr., the function of the comma is to set off these abbreviations, so an additional comma is needed after the abbreviation if the sentence continues." – shoover Sep 14 '16 at 15:29
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It looks like the professorship she holds was named in honor of Mr. Buchanan. You shouldn't need to include it when you cite her.

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    I removed that part of my answer. When I reread your question it was clear that the comma is because of the "Jr." Unfortunately, having a (needed) comma in that position obscures the fact that it is the professorship named after Mr. Buchanan (and not the professor!). – Chris Sunami Jun 10 '14 at 2:44
  • It got me confused as well, because as it stands I could not decide what Buchanan was refering to in grammatical terms. – P. O. Jun 10 '14 at 14:43
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This is a so-called "chair" professorship, where the "chair" was endowed by a wealthy man named DeWitt W. Buchanan Jr.

That means that the donation given by Mr. Buchanan Jr. was large enough to pay the holder of the "chair" over her probable tenure, so he gets to have his name attached to the work of that one professor.

  • Endowed chairs need not provide salary—they may just provide an annual stipend for use in supporting the group. – aeismail Jun 10 '14 at 18:49
  • @aeismail: I didn't say that he paid the actual salary. I said that he paid "enough" to (more or less) compensate for the salary in order to have the privilege of having the "chair" named after him. Usually it's a lump sum, and whether it covers the salary depends on how long the tenure lasts, and whether or not interest on the money makes a large enough contribution. – Tom Au Jun 10 '14 at 18:51

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