Four new academic chairs for outstanding faculty members recently have been established, which will help advance research, support projects and enhance student learning on campus.
Mark Sunderland, textile engineer and strategist and director of academic operations for Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, has been named the Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Term Chair. The five-year, $100,000 award is the largest amount donated for a term chair at the University.
In addition, D.K. Malhotra, director of the Innovation MBA and master’s in taxation programs, was named the Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance; Rob Fleming associate professor and director of the M.S. in Sustainable Design program, was named the Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design; and Tod Corlett, associate professor and director of the M.S. in Industrial Design program, was named the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design. Each of these prestigious chairs will provide $25,000 of support over the next five years.
The four new chairs bring the total established since last fall to seven. In all, nine PhilaU faculty members have been awarded academic chairs since the start of the University’s record-breaking Power to Innovate capital campaign.
“Academic chairs enrich the important work of our faculty as researchers, scholars and creative professionals,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. “The significant growth in the number of chairs established in the last few years is yet another measure of Philadelphia University’s excellence. I am personally grateful to our donors for their generosity and support of the faculty. In doing so, they are strengthening and advancing our unique value proposition for our students.”
The performance apparel chair was established for Sunderland by Jon Reichlin, CEO of Nathan Sports, the Sharon Hill, Pa.-based market leader in performance-based products for runners and other athletes.
“Mark Sunderland is a man of great passion,” Reichlin said. “I am happy to support him and enable him to continue to both fuel his own passion and to share it with the Philadelphia University community. He is a remarkable and deserving person.”
Sunderland, a leading expert and researcher in high-performance athletic apparel, said the appointment is “truly an honor.” Sunderland said he plans to use the chair’s resources to enhance student learning at all levels, including through research, industry partnership projects and product development opportunities.
“The funds will be used to support a variety of projects in the area of high-performance apparel,” Sunderland said, including research on wearable technologies and new course development to cultivate transdisciplinary collaboration. One research project that will get underway soon, for instance, will measure the effectiveness of magnetic fields for washability and odor release in performance and athletic apparel.
Reichlin named the chair to honor his late uncle, Robert J. Reichlin ’47, who served as a University trustee for 17 years. “I am grateful to finally be in a position to honor him in this way,” Reichlin said.
The Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance was awarded to D.K. Malhotra by Trustee Robert Nydick Jr. ’78 H’13 and Susan Nydick ’77. Robert Nydick, a professor of management and operations at Villanova University’s School of Business, is chair of PhilaU’s School of Business Administration’s Advancement Council. Susan Nydick is vice president of Quaker Group, a property management company that owns and manages residential and commercial properties in the region.
“I am truly honored to be named the Nydick Family Term Chair. Bob and Sue Nydick are role models for our students and an important part of our community,” said Malhotra, a professor of finance and director of the Innovation MBA and master’s in taxation programs. “I dedicate this honor to my colleagues and students, who inspire me to come to Philadelphia University every day with renewed vigor and energy.”
Malhotra has written more than 100 scholarly papers and his research has been cited in U.S. Congressional testimony and by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The chair “will enable me to work towards the next 100 publications,” said Malhotra, who previously held the Thomas J. Herzfeld Term Chair in Finance.
“Having spent 35 years in the classroom, I am aware of the importance of publishing to keep current in the field and in the value of a great teacher and scholar,” said Robert Nydick. “We wanted to further that model and D.K. was an easy choice to fill this chair based on his scholarly work and character. I am honored that part of our financial support of the School of Business Administration will acknowledge the contributions D.K. has made to Philadelphia University.”
Also this fall, PhilaU Trustee Bill Jasper, chairman of the board of Unifi Inc., a leading producer and processor of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns, established the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design.
“My main goal in funding the chair is to enhance the student experience and quality of education,” said Jasper, who was awarded PhilaU’s 2012 Leader of Innovation Medal for outstanding contributions to his field. “I’m very impressed with the University’s Nexus Learning approach to higher education and think Tod Corlett has done a tremendous job incorporating this into the classroom and student experience.”
Corlett said the chair will allow him to bring new ideas into the classroom and help propel transformative student innovations into the real world, where they can make a difference in people’s lives.
“Industrial design is changing faster than ever before and operating on a global scale,” Corlett said. “Our students are building vital connections with the Philadelphia community, industry and other universities worldwide. The term chair resources will let us do all these things faster, better and much more effectively.”
Ron Kander, executive dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, said the academic chairs for Sunderland, Malhotra and Corlett recognize their outstanding contributions to their disciplines and to the success of their students. “Not only does this recognition allow them to advance their scholarship and professional development, it enhances the student experience,” Kander said. “We are proud of Mark, Tod and D.K. and grateful to the donors who made these term chairs possible.”
Abraham Salaman ’58 established the Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design for Rob Fleming, a LEED-accredited architect and recognized leader in sustainable design. Fleming said the chair will not only enhance his work and provide opportunities for students, but also help to move society to a more sustainable future.
“It is an honor to receive this recognition and I would like to thank the Salaman family for this opportunity,” Fleming said. “This chair will allow me the freedom to more fully explore the potential for new products, processes and curricula that incorporate sustainable principles.”
Barbara Klinkhammer, executive dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, said the chair reinforces the College’s position as an academic leader in sustainable integrated design and practice. “Under Professor Fleming’s leadership, the M.S. in Sustainable Design program has achieved an excellent national and international reputation,” she said.
Salaman is the president and founder of Trinity American Corp., a private investment company based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Salaman was inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012 as part of the 1957-58 men’s basketball team, the first in school history to qualify for the NCAA Division II Tournament. In 2008, PhilaU dedicated the Abraham J. Salaman ’58 Tennis Courts.
“I think the direction that Dr. Spinelli is leading Philadelphia University as it relates to innovation is one that will be copied by many institutions,” Salaman said of his support for PhilaU and the sustainability chair. “He recognizes that you have to prepare students for the real world before graduation.”
Since last fall, academic chairs also were established for Natalie Nixon, strategic design MBA program director, D.R. Widder, vice president for innovation, and Beth Mariotz, fashion merchandising and management program director. Chairs previously were awarded to Marcia Weiss, undergraduate textile design program coordinator, and Josh Owen, former industrial design associate professor.