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Endowments at UVA

Owen R. Cheatham Professorship in the Sciences


The Owen R. Cheatham Professorship in the Sciences is named for the founder of the Georgia-Pacific Corporation. Lynchburg native Owen Cheatham, who made the chair possible, attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of Georgia and earned a doctoral degree from the Presbyterian College of Clemson University. Georgia-Pacific's president and board chairman, he later became chairman of the executive committee and honorary board chairman. Mr. Cheatham, who died in 1971, allowed the University to determine which departments would be best served by the chair.

The Board of Visitors elected Mary Lou Soffa to the Owen R. Cheatham Professorship in the Sciences in 2004.

Mary Lou Soffa, chair of the Engineering School's Department of Computer Science, has dedicated herself to technical achievements and encouraging women to succeed in computer science.

In recognition of her dedication, Soffa was presented with the 2011 Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. She received this award for her technical achievements and leadership that impact and inspire women in computing.

Soffa is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and co-founder of the Computing Research Association's Graduate Student Cohort and the Cohort for Associate Professors. In addition, she is an active research mentor. Of the 26 Ph.D.s that she has graduated, 50 percent are women; nationally, 13 percent of Ph.D. graduates are women.

Soffa won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 1999 and, in 2005, the CRA Nico Habermann Award for outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented members in the computing research community.

History of Past Recipients and Projects