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Published: February 09, 2023

Stephen Blessing Named to Endowed Chair in Psychology

After a nationwide search, Stephen Blessing, professor of psychology, has been named the inaugural Janet R. Matthews Ph.D. Endowed Chair of Psychology.

Stephen Blessing Named to Endowed Chair in PsychologyStephen Blessing, professor of psychology, has been named the inaugural Janet R. Matthews Ph.D. Endowed Chair of Psychology. Photo by Jessica Leigh

This endowed chair was established in 2019 by Lee Matthews ’67 in honor of his wife, Janet ’66. This is the first endowed chair in UT’s history to be named after a UT alumna or alumnus, and the first endowed chair outside the Sykes College of Business.

Blessing’s position will be housed in the Department of Psychology, within UT’s College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education. Blessing, who has taught at UT since 2004, specializes in cognitive psychology. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Carnegie Mellon University.

Blessing is excited about the opportunity to engage and mentor more psychology students in his area of cognitive psychology and heighten the impact that an endowed chair can make at UT for both our students and early career faculty.

Janet and Lee Matthews met as freshmen at UT in 1962, were married as undergraduates, and went on to become established and renowned clinical and academic psychologists. Janet passed away in March 2019.

Janet Matthews ’66 was a university professor at Loyola University New Orleans, while Lee Matthews ’67 focused on the practice of clinical psychology. After attending UT, both received master’s degrees from Trinity University (TX) and doctorates from the University of Mississippi.

Endowed chairs are among the most generous and critical gifts in higher education and support academic excellence, according to UT President Ron Vaughn. “Having it named after two esteemed psychologists brings prestige to the University and will certainly help us attract outstanding faculty,” he said.

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