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Office of the President

March 25, 2019 – Announcing 2019 Lantis Endowed University Chairs

To: Campus community

From: President Gayle E. Hutchinson

I am pleased to announce the selection of Anthropology Professor Brian Brazeal; Media Arts, Design, and Technology Professor Chiara Ferrari; and Biological Sciences Professor David Stachura as Lantis Endowed University Chairs. Their selection follows a very competitive process featuring 10 extremely strong faculty applications.

Professor David Lantis was a faculty member of the Department of Geography who understood that private giving would help to enrich the teaching and learning environment of the University. Professor Lantis and his wife, Helen, donated $2 million to endow a University Chair in their name, and this endowment  allows for the annual funding of University Chairs. Past recipients of the Lantis University Chair include Michael Ennis, Susan Roll, Georgia Fox, Rachel Teasdale, David Colson, Michelle Neyman Morris, Stephen Lewis, Greg Kallio, Tracy Butts, Kate Transchel, Lori Beth Way, and Byron Wolf.

Professors Brazeal, Ferrari, and Stachura will each receive a financial award to advance their research and student-centered projects.

Provost Debra Larson and I thank the Lantis University Chair Selection Committee for its time and expertise in choosing the recipients for this prestigious honor. Below are some details about this year's Lantis endowed University Chairs:

Anthropology Professor Brian Brazeal will use the Lantis professorship to bring student cinematographers to Thailand and Sri Lanka to capture footage for a documentary film on the international trade in rubies and sapphires. The team will travel abroad to conduct collaborative ethnographic studies on gemstone mining and trading. A student editor will compile the footage into a documentary film.

Media Arts, Design, and Technology Professor Chiara Ferrari plans to use the Lantis professorship toward the creation of a documentary film about the city of Matera in Italy in a project focusing on film location, film-induced tourism, and cultural heritage. Through collaboration across different university departments, the project will provide a holistic look at how film representation can be interpreted and connected to broader elements of cultural heritage. The research will be shared in a public interdisciplinary presentation that will accompany the opening of two exhibits in 2021, one at the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery and one at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology.

Biological Sciences Professor David Stachura intends to use the Lantis professorship toward isolating fish mesenchymal stem cells that can be coaxed into producing different types of tissue (muscle, fat, bone, and cartilage). The project will generate a cell line that can make all the cell types of a fish fillet. This research will contribute to understanding cellular reprogramming and will engage students from the local community, Chico High School, and Chico State.

Please join me in congratulating Professors Brazeal, Ferrari, and Stachura.