New Regents’ Professors earn highest honor

by Andy Skemp

The three professors recently selected as members of the University’s elite Regents’ Professors are hailed as the best professors the school has to offer, boasting highly accomplished careers in areas ranging from AIDS research to the study of Shakespeare.
On Friday, June 11, professors Ashley Haase, John Sullivan and Thomas Clayton were recognized for their career achievements with the highest honor available to University faculty members.
To single out those three professors, University President Mark Yudof in December 1998 requested that departments choose an outstanding faculty member and compile letters of recommendation from colleagues and former students. Contributions to their personal fields of study were also used in the evaluation process.
In April, a special committee began reviewing the applications and forwarded its choices to the Board of Regents for their final decision.
There are 20 professors in total who have been recognized as Regents’ Professors since it was first awarded in 1965. All recipients receive an annual stipend of $10,000 and their positions are forfeited only by retirement, death or change of school.
“It feels great to be acknowledged for what you’ve done over the long-term,” said Sullivan, a professor of political science.
For Haase, chairman of the microbiology department, his new title not only recognizes his past accomplishments, but serves as a source of encouragement for his future work.
“It will allow me to continue research in an area that is really important,” said Haase, whose study of the AIDS virus brought him to the University from California 15 years ago.
English professor Thomas Clayton, a Shakespeare expert, earned his B.A. at the University and his Ph.D. at Oxford. After teaching at Yale and UCLA, Clayton returned to the University in 1968 with the intention of staying on permanently.
The awards also confirm the professors’ important role within their departments; because each one has spent at least 20 years at the University, they are often looked to by other members of their department as a link between faculty and administration.
Clayton has spent the most time at the University of any of the professors, though Sullivan is also a former University undergrad.