St. Paul, Minn. – Wesley and Lynn Edens of New York have established a $2 million endowed professorship at Macalester College. It will be named the Edens Professorship in Global Health.

The Edens Chair’s first appointment will be in health and medical geography, a field that includes topics ranging from infectious diseases to health care delivery systems to environmental health hazards.  The professor will teach in the geography department.

The Edens Professorship represents Macalester’s latest step in developing a curriculum that infuses a traditional liberal arts education with a unique focus on addressing global challenges. It comes on the heels of rapid growth in Macalester programs such as community and global health, international development, and environmental studies. It also marks the eighth professorship created during the college’s comprehensive Step Forward campaign and is part of more than $20 million raised for faculty support during the campaign.

“The Edens Professorship in Global Health will reinforce Macalester’s strong and distinctive commitment to educating students for the global challenges and the global economy of the coming decades,” President Brian Rosenberg said. “Through their generosity and vision, Wes and Lynn Edens have helped make this possible, and for that we are deeply grateful. The impact of the Edens professorship on the education of many Macalester students will be extraordinary.”

The professorship grew out of Macalester’s Educational Policy and Governance (EPAG) committee’s annual call for faculty proposals to envision new possibilities across traditional divisional boundaries. Each proposal must build on Macalester’s strengths, fill in curricular gaps, and innovate with links to the college’s mission. Macalester faculty emphasized the need for a colleague specializing in global health, and the Edens stepped forward to address it.

“We are excited by the opportunity to fund an initiative like this,” Wes and Lynn said. “Global health is a topic of great interest to us, and there is an urgent need in higher education to prepare today’s students to address these challenges. We are delighted to be working with Macalester to advance that effort.”

A search begins immediately, with plans for the new professor to join the Macalester faculty next year. Besides the faculty presence and coursework on campus, Macalester students will also benefit from a research fund supported by the Edens. Up to six students each summer will have the opportunity to conduct research relating to health and society with professors.

Wesley Edens is co-founder, principal, and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC.  He supports medical causes through his trust, the Chinook Charitable Trust. Lynn Edens is the owner of Little Creek Farm LLC, and she supports global health and equity initiatives through her trust, Hoof Beat Charitable Trust. She serves as vice-president of the board at Trevor Day School in New York and as a board member of Children’s Rights. Both Wes and Lynn have also provided ongoing support to Partners in Health.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,985 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement. Learn more at

October 10 2011

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