Two ComArtSci faculty named to endowed professorships

The College of Communication Arts and Sciences appointed two faculty members to endowed professorships. Bruno Takahashi was named Brandt Endowed Associate Professor of Environmental Communication in the School of Journalism. Kjerstin Thorson was named Brandt Endowed Associate Professor of Political Communication, jointly appointed in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations and the School of Journalism.

The Brandt professorship recognizes exceptional teacher-scholars whose individual performance is matched by their contribution to the success of their colleagues, through leadership and service.

“It is a great pleasure to recognize these outstanding teacher-scholars for their contributions to their fields and their impact on the collective success of their units and our college through their leadership,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Ellis N. Brandt (B.A. Journalism, ’43), whose generous gift to the college made these professorships possible, was well known for his deep commitment to community service. In a tribute, his family shared a story about his 90th birthday party. There, Brandt described one of his central beliefs, telling the assembled crowd, “I have always tried to leave any organization I was involved with better off when I left it than when I joined it. No matter whether it’s a club, or an historical society, or a church, or a professional organization, or a foundation, I’ve tried to do something that improved that organization while I was involved with it.” It is fitting therefore that these professorships recognize Drs. Takahashi and Thorson not only for their accomplishments as scholars but also for their many contributions to the life of the college.

Photo of Bruno TakahashiDr. Takahashi said: “I want express my gratitude to Dean Prabu David and School of Journalism Director Dr. Tim Vos for their support and the opportunity provided with this Brandt Professorship. I plan to use this platform to expand research opportunities for students from historically marginalized groups and to continue growing the initiatives of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the School of Journalism, and the College in the areas of environmental, science, health, and risk communication.”

Photo of Kjerstin Thorson“I am honored by this recognition and grateful to our college leadership for their support,” Dr. Thorson said. “I am proud to be a part of Ellis Brandt’s gift to our college, which celebrates his legacy of leadership and service. This professorship in political communication will create new opportunities to build knowledge about the role of media and communication in strengthening democratic society.”

In 2019, the Brandt endowment funded five named professorships, one of which is held by James Dearing, Brandt Endowed Professor of Health Communication in the Department of Communication. During Ellis Brandt's lifetime, the Gerstacker Foundation established the Ellis N. Brandt Chair in Public Relations to honor Mr. Brandt for his service to the foundation. John Besley in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations holds this chair.