Endowed Faculty Chairs History


Paul W. and Catherine A. Boltz Chair in History of Monetary Policy

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Jorge Paulo Lemann Endowed Chair in Economics


Photo credit Marsha Hatchel October 2016

Inception of the Endowed Chair:

The Jorge Paulo Lemann Endowed Chair in Economics was created by the namesake, Jorge Paulo Lemann, in 2001.  The endowment’s intention is to provide supplemental monetary support of a tenured faculty person at the University of Illinois in the Department of Economics with expertise in issues related to the Brazilian and Latin American economy, economic development, and/or economies in transition. 

Chair Holders: (by years held in reverse chronological order)

  • Search currently open: 2017-
  • Werner Baer:  2001-2016


Information about the Donor:

Jorge Lemann was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to a Swiss immigrant father and a mother who was Brazilian for Swiss origin.  His parents wished a Harvard education Jorge, so in the late 50’s, he came to the US, and began a somewhat uncertain pursuit in his education.  After his first year at Harvard he was invited by Harvard to take a gap year to gain more focus and maturity.  He did return the second year and graduated after only three years of study, completing his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961.  After graduating, he took a traineeship at Credit Suisse in Geneva Switzerland.  From there, he formed a partnership with two other investors and founded the Brazilian banking from Banco Garantia.  Banco Garantia was sold to Credit Suisse in 1998.

Lemann’s diverse interests, managed by 3G Capital where he is a co-founder, brought about his purchase of two Brazilian breweries that later became known as AmBev.  In 2004, AmBev merged with a Belgium beer company, Interbrew, to form InBev.  In 2005, InBev purchased US brewing company Anheuser-Busch to become AB InBev, making it the largest beer brewing company in the world.  He holds interests, mergers, or advisory roles in other well-known companies such as Gillette, DaimlerChyrsler, Kraft Foods, H.J.Heinz Company and others.  He has also worked with, and is friendly with, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. 

Dr. Werner Baer and Jorge Lemann had a long-standing relationship spanning the years since they were classmates at Harvard until Baer’s death in 2016.     Professor Baer’s research had focused on the Brazilian economy and he had mentored and personally supported numerous graduate student trips to Brazil.  When Professor Baer established a fund in the 1990’s to recruit Latin American students to come to the University of Illinois, Lemann began his relationship with the university by making a $16.5 million gift.  Lemann’s philanthropic contributions also created the Jorge Paulo Lemann Endowed Chair in Economics that was held by Professor Werner Baer since its inception in 2001 until his death in 2016.  Lemann’s generosity extended beyond the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois with the creation of the Lemann Institute of Brazilian Studies and establishing residency in the University of Illinois’ Research Park for his company, AB InBev. 

Although Jorge Lemann is considered to be the wealthiest Brazilian citizen, as ranked by Forbes Brazil, and in the top 30 wealthiest individuals in the world as of 2015, also ranked by Forbes, very little is known about him personally.  His public appearances are few; however, the Department of Economics had the privilege of his attendance at the Werner Baer Memorial Ceremony and Conference in October of 2016. 





William B. McKinley Professorship in Economics and Public Utilities

Inception of the Endowed Chair:

The William B. McKinley Professorship in Economics and Public Utilities was created in 1923 as indicated in the Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois meeting minutes page 376 of the minutes (page 2 of the pdf file).  The first appointment for the chair was C.M. Thompson in 1931. 

Chair Holders: (by years held in reverse chronological order)


Information about the Donor:

William Brown McKinley was born on September 5, 1856 in Petersburg, Illinois, a small town about 100 miles west of Champaign. His father, George, was a Presbyterian minister, and moved his family to Champaign in 1858 to serve at the local church. McKinley would grow up and be educated in the city, where he would live for almost his entire life.

After studying in the local Champaign public schools, William McKinley enrolled at Illinois Industrial University, the predecessor of the University of Illinois, at the age of 14. After two years of studies, McKinley dropped out of the University due to his lack of money, and moved to Springfield to work as a drug clerk. He remained in Springfield until 1877, when he moved back to Champaign to work at his uncle’s bank, J.B. & W.B. McKinley. The firm specialized in farm mortgages and private banking. McKinley became a partner in the business after a few years of working with his uncle.

During his years at the family bank, McKinley also became involved in the growing industry of public utilities. In 1884, he entered the trade by building the first water works in Champaign-Urbana. He also brought electric lights to Urbana in 1893 and to Champaign in 1896. These operations proved to be immensely profitable for McKinley, who expanded his burgeoning utility empire all the way to Ohio and Michigan.

In 1890, McKinley entered the transportation industry when he purchased and electrified the horsecar line between Urbana and Champaign, allowing citizens to easily and quickly travel between the two cities for the first time. He was one of the first people to grasp how important the use of electricity could be in transportation networks. Eventually, McKinley expanded his authority over the transportation industry to the entire state, becoming president of both the Western Railways & Light System and the Illinois Traction Company.

The Illinois Traction Company eventually controlled a network of over 500 miles of interurban railroads in the state, making it the largest such system in the world at the time. The company served cities such as Springfield, Decatur, Danville, Peoria and St. Louis in addition to Champaign and Urbana. Locals called the system the “McKinley System.” The crowning achievement for McKinley and this transportation system was the McKinley Bridge, a 2,250 foot long structure that connected Venice, IL to St. Louis across the Mississippi. McKinley became a multimillionaire from these investments in the transportation and utility industries.

McKinley also had a successful political career later in his life. He first flirted with politics in 1891, when he ran for a seat on the Champaign city council, but was defeated by J.R. Scott. He ran for office again in 1902, when he was elected as a member of the University Of Illinois Board Of Trustees. He served in this post until 1905.

The Champaign-Urbana community reacted emphatically when McKinley decided to run for Congress in 1904, and easily elected him to the House for the first time. McKinley would serve as a Congressman for the area for four consecutive terms. During his time in the House, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures in both the 60th and 61st Congresses. McKinley also served as an organizer for the 1912 Republican Presidential Convention in Chicago, working to support incumbent President William Howard Taft in his reelection bid against former President Theodore Roosevelt. However, both Taft and McKinley lost their respective races.

After his defeat, McKinley took a break from politics for two years to travel. He returned to Champaign in 1914, reclaimed his lost House seat, and served in that capacity for an additional three terms. In 1920, McKinley decided to run for Senate, and defeated Lawrence Yates Sherman by more than 800,000 votes. During his time as a senator, he served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Manufacturers. McKinley served in the Senate for one term, and lost his reelection bid to Frank L. Smith in 1926.

Shortly before he was to leave office, McKinley died on December 7, 1926, in Martinsville, Indiana. He is buried in Champaign’s Mount Hope Cemetery.

McKinley is remembered by the Champaign-Urbana community for his various philanthropic initiatives. In 1917, he donated $120,000 to the University of Illinois to build McKinley Health Center, worth $2.3m in 2018 dollars. He also left $120,000 to build a local YMCA, which opened in 1938 as the McKinley YMCA. Additionally, he donated funds to build the McKinley Memorial Presbyterian Church.