Coursey named Ameritech Professor
Additional appointments to endowed professorships will be announced in the Jan. 18 Chronicle Don Coursey, an expert on the financial impact of environmental decisions, has been named the University's first Ameritech Professor of Public Policy. Coursey is Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.
The Ameritech chair was established with a gift of $1.5 million from the Ameritech Foundation. The contribution is part of the University's Campaign for the Next Century, which has raised $542 million toward its $650 million goal.
"We are delighted to announce Don Coursey's appointment to this chair," said President Sonnenschein. "We are proud of his innovative and thoughtful research on the economic costs and benefits of environmental policy. As the first Ameritech Professor, he will set a standard for his successors. We are grateful for Ameritech's generosity and for the company's interest in supporting important work in public policy. "
Dick Notebaert, chairman and CEO of Ameritech, said the grant for the professorship underscores the Ameritech Foundation's commitment to higher education.
"Ameritech is proud to be a partner with the University of Chicago, a world-class institution that also calls Chicago home," Notebaert said. "The Ameritech Professorship at the Harris School will put the University at the forefront of addressing some of the nation's most important public policies. Ameritech is both delighted and privileged to have Don Coursey named as the first Ameritech Professor."
Coursey has studied the links between financial and environmental decisions. He has examined the relative costs of preserving various species, for instance, and found that the larger, more popular animals receive the most governmental support.
He has also examined hazardous-waste sites in Chicago neighborhoods and found that historical forces other than discrimination are responsible for their location in minority neighborhoods.
Charles Glaser, Acting Dean of the Harris School, said, "Don has made enormous contributions to the Harris School as a scholar, a teacher and the coordinator of our environmental policy concentration.
"Don has made fundamental contributions that have significantly advanced methods for determining the public's true desires for alternative policy outcomes," Glaser continued. "He is doing important work at the intersection of basic research and current policy questions. That is what public policy research is all about. Don is also an exceptional teacher who prepares students to think critically and to use scientific evidence carefully. He is very deserving of this honor."
Coursey joined the faculty of the University's Harris School in 1993. He earned a B.A. in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Arizona. Before joining the University of Chicago, he was a faculty member at the University of Wyoming and at Washington University in St. Louis.