April 20, 2009 — Three University of Virginia faculty members and President John T. Casteen III are among 229 new fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research.
The faculty members are
- Kenneth Abraham, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law;
- Judy S. DeLoache, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology; and
- Timothy Wilson, Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology.
The academy announced its 2009 class today in Cambridge, Mass.
The last fellow from U.Va. was Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor English, in 2006. Casteen, who was among nine honorees for educational, philanthropic and cultural leadership, noted that the number of elections is "uncommonly large" for any one university.
"These elections – of Tim Wilson, Judy DeLoache and Kenneth Abraham – represent the highest form of recognition from the national scholarly community, and acknowledge lifelong achievement at the highest levels," he said. "Professors Wilson, DeLoache and Abraham are to be warmly congratulated.
"As to my own election, I am deeply honored to be in such good University company."
W. Heywood Fralin, rector of the Board of Visitors, noted, "This is a wonderful accomplishment to have four members of our University named to the academy. Our three outstanding faculty members are most deserving of this honor, and we are extremely proud of them."
He added, "I want to make special note, however, of President Casteen's election. For the past 19 years, he has served the University well and been responsible for its enormous success. The board is delighted that President Casteen's accomplishments have been recognized with this high honor."
Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney said Abraham is the nation's leading scholar of insurance law and an influential torts expert. "His work is theoretically ambitious while remaining firmly grounded in practical legal problems," he said.
Meredith Jung-En Woo, dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Dennis Proffitt, chairman of the Psychology Department, said DeLoache's and Wilson's elections are gratifying.
"I am so pleased to see the Academy recognizing Judy and Tim for their important contributions to the field," Woo said. "The developmental and social psychology faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences are outstanding."
"Both are amazing scientists with international reputations for innovative and influential research," Proffitt said. "They are wonderful colleagues and outstanding and caring teachers who have made generous contributions to the department and to the university."
The academy's 2009 class comprises scholars, scientists, jurists, writers, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders from 28 states and 11 countries, according to a press release. Fellows represent universities, museums, national laboratories, private research institutes, businesses and foundations.
Among the notable names are actors Dustin Hoffman and James Earl Jones, writers Jamaica Kincaid and Thomas Pynchon, Civil War historian James McPherson, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Others with University affiliations who were elected include:
- J. Harvie Wilkerson, judge on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a Law School alumnus, U.Va. law professor and this year's commencement speaker;
- Choreographer Bill T. Jones, who led a weeklong residency at U.Va. earlier this year in preparation for a work honoring the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth;
- Michael Klarman, historian and legal scholar and Bancroft Prize-winning author, former U.Va. faculty member, who now teaches at Harvard University;
- Claes H. von Hofsten of Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, who was a visiting professor psychology in the late '90s.
The academy was founded in 1780 by some of America's founders, including John Adams and John Hancock. Since then, it has elected as members some of the most prestigious and influential leaders of their day, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
The new class will be inducted Oct. 10 at a ceremony at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge.
Kenneth S. Abraham is one of five law professors nationwide elected this year as a fellow to the Academy of Arts & Sciences, joining Law School colleagues Frederick Schauer and G. Edward White.
"I'm honored to be in the company of the extraordinarily distinguished members of the academy," he said.
Abraham practiced in New Jersey before he began teaching law at the University of Maryland in 1974. He came to the U.Va. School of Law in 1983.
His casebook, "Insurance Law and Regulation," now in its fourth edition, has been used as the principal text in courses on insurance law in more than 100 American law schools. His torts treatise, "The Forms and Functions of Tort Law," has become a basic text for first-year law students across the country.
For more than two decades Abraham has served as a consulting counsel and as an expert witness in a variety of major insurance coverage cases involving directors' and officers' liability, environmental cleanup liability, toxic tort, products liability and property insurance claims. He has also served as an arbitrator for the Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust, resolving more than 100 claims by women seeking damages for injuries caused by the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, both in the United States and Europe.
Judy DeLoache is among eight AAAS Fellows in the social sciences arena of social and developmental psychology and education. She has spent more than 20 years researching early cognitive development with a special interest in the development of symbolic functioning.
"There is no domain of development more important than mastery of the various symbols and symbol systems used for communication," she has said. "My research has focused on the origins of children's understanding of symbolic artifacts, such as pictures, models and replica objects."
After a long career at the University of Illinois, DeLoache came to U.Va. in 2000 and established the Child Study Center. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgia State University.
Among her many honors and awards, she was named a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 2006. She is on sabbatical during the current semester.
Timothy Wilson joins his research partner, Daniel Gilbert of Harvard, as an academy fellow this year. Gilbert was elected in 2008.
Wilson’s area of research is self-knowledge – its limits, how people attain it and its value. For the past several years, he and Gilbert have been investigating how well people can predict their future reactions to emotional events. Wilson and Gilbert have established a number of errors people make when imagining their future selves that have important consequences.
"I am very pleased by this honor – even more so than I might have predicted!" Wilson said. "It is especially gratifying to be elected to the Academy in the same year as my friend and colleague in psychology, Judy DeLoache."
Wilson also developed a model of "mental contamination," which is the way in which people’s thoughts and feelings are influencing in ways they would prefer not to be, in part because of a lack of awareness of how their judgments are affected by unwanted influences.
In 2002, he published "Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious" (Harvard University Press), described by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker as "what popular psychology ought to be (and rarely is): thoughtful, beautifully written, and full of unexpected insights."
Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in 1973 and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1977. He taught at Duke University from 1977 to 1979, then joined the U.Va. faculty. He served as chairman of the Department of Psychology from 2001 to 2004. In 2001, he received an All-University Outstanding Teaching Award.