New Chair Holders Announced

Written by: Ashley Green (
Post date: December 14, 2017

Thanks to generous gifts from donors, three faculty have been named new endowed chair holders.

The funds from these endowed chairs will support faculty, attract visiting scholars, fund programs and promote teaching, research and service activities of the chair holder.

Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke 

Through funding from the Ed Rachel Foundation, Reta Haynes and others, the Douglas J. Palmer Chair in Educational Psychology was created to recognize the more than 35 years Dr. Douglas Palmer served the college. Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke, head of the Department of Educational Psychology, will hold the chair.

“I am honored to receive this chair which was named after an esteemed colleague and former department head of EPSY. I look forward to the opportunity to use this gift to better our teaching, research and service activities,” said Dr. Hagan-Burke.

As chair, Dr. Hagan-Burke will be working with students preparing to become special education or bilingual education teachers or careers in psychology. She will also continue her research examining education achievement, social support and mental health issues.

Dr. Beverly Irby

Dr. Beverly Irby, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, now holds the Marilyn Kent Byrne Chair for Student Success.

Thanks to gifts from Dorothy J. and Arthur “Artie” R. McFerrin, Jr. ’65, the Marilyn Kent Byrne Chair in Student Success was created. The purpose of the chair is to provide leadership and oversight of the Byrne Student Success Center.

“The Byrne Center has helped a countless number of students succeed in their undergraduate careers,” said Dr. Irby. “I am encouraged by the vision for the future of the Byrne Center and I am looking forward to additional support we can provide for our undergraduates.”

Dr. Melinda Sheffield-Moore

Dr. Melinda Sheffield-Moore, department head in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, is the newest holder of the Thomas A. and Joan Read Chair for Disadvantaged Youth.

Created in 1990 by a gift from the Read family, the Thomas A. and Joan Read Chair for Disadvantaged Youth has strengthened the work of the Department of Health and Kinesiology. This chair was also created to continue the positive relationship between HLKN and the Deerfoot Youth Camp in Magnolia, started by the Read family to serve disadvantaged youth.

“Joan and her husband Tom have positively influenced the lives of so many disadvantaged youth in Texas, and I am honored to be the holder of the endowed chair that represents the powerful legacy that the Read’s generosity has provided to Texas A&M and the Department of Health and Kinesiology,” added Dr. Sheffield-Moore.