Gift of $1.2 Million Creates Professorship in Psychological and Brain Sciences at UMass Amherst

AMHERST — A new professorship in psychological and brain sciences at UMass Amherst has been established through a financial commitment of $1.2 million from Robert Feldman and his wife, Katherine Vorwerk.

Feldman is senior advisor to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, as well as the former deputy chancellor of the university and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Vorwerk is a retired instructor in the department of psychological and brain sciences. The professorship will be awarded to an outstanding faculty member who specializes in social psychology, fostering cutting-edge research and supporting a top-notch department. The gift will support UMass by helping to hire and retain faculty of the highest caliber within the department.

Feldman and Vorwerk made the $1,225,000 commitment as a multi-year current gift, plus an additional commitment through their estate, to establish the Feldman-Vorwerk Family Professorship. They also took advantage of a 2020 state campaign that allowed them to use matching funds to fully finance the professorship.

“It is with immense gratitude that I thank Bob and Kathy for their longstanding generosity to UMass Amherst,” Subbaswamy said. “From their professional lives to their volunteer work, and now with this professorship, they have demonstrated their strong belief in the potential of UMass to continue to grow as a world-class university.”

Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, added that “gifts such as this one are so important to the future of the college. By endowing a professorship, these two devoted members of the UMass community are helping to ensure that we continue the tradition of excellence in the department by attracting and retaining the highest-quality faculty.”

After giving back in many ways over the years, this gift was the natural next step for Feldman and Vorwerk. The professorship is a substantial and lasting way to support the future of the field they have both studied and worked in.

“UMass Amherst offers a superlative education with extraordinary faculty who care about teaching and research,” Feldman said.

Added Vorwerk, “we believe strongly in the university and wanted our gift to help it fulfill its mission.”