University of Vermont

UVM Appoints Four New James Marsh-Professors-at-Large

The University of Vermont has appointed four new James Marsh Professors-at-Large: Timothy Breen, the William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University; Sture Hansson, professor in the Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University; Stephen Polasky, the Fesler-Lampert Professor of Applied Economics and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota; and David Richardson, deputy director of the Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University. 

Timothy H. Breen is a leading historian of Colonial and Revolutionary America.  He has been a Guggenheim fellow and a visiting scholar at the American Academy of Rome and held appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, Cambridge University and Oxford University. He has published more than sixty scholarly articles and eleven books and won numerous prestigious awards. Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence won the Colonial War Society Prize, and one of his most important books (co-authored with Stephen Innes), Myne Owne Ground: Race and Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, has become a seminal text in historical studies of colonial America. Breen is currently developing new work on Revolutionary Vermont and working on a book that reconstructs a tour of the new United States conducted by George Washington during his first term as president.

Sture Hansson is world-renowned aquatic ecologist. He earned his bachelor of science degree at Uppsala University and received his doctorate at Stockholm University where he now teaches in the Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. In his research, he mixes basic and applied issues with a general focus on aquatic environments, in particular, the Baltic Sea. His research studies are oriented around trophic interactions, predator-prey relationships, and competition and food web structures. He studies the impact of large-scale human interferences in the food webs and how discharges of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) influence food webs from the bottom up, while fisheries cause top-down impact.

Stephen Polasky is among the world’s leaders in combining ecology and economics to quantify the benefits of nature to human society. As an interdisciplinary scientist, he holds joint appointments in the Department of Applied Economics and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and draws tools from across the social and natural sciences to address some of the largest issues facing humanity. He has assessed the impact of biofuels on agricultural landscapes, climate change, and food prices, and he has pioneered a rigorous return-on-investment approach to endangered species policy. He was the senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999. He was elected into the National Academy of Sciences and has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

David Richardson is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of conservation biology, environmental policy and environmental management. Richardson is also one of the world's leading scientists on the study of biological invasions and their impacts on ecosystem services.  He is an elected member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa and a member of the Royal Society of South Africa. The National Research Foundation of South Africa awarded him an A-1 rating for the high quality and significant impact of his research. He has published 232 articles and edited four books. He is founder and editor-in-chief of the international conservation journal Diversity and Distributions: A Journal of Conservation Biology and the founding organizer of the international conference on the Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions. His research in “practical biogeography” seeks find “affordable, sustainable management strategies” and addresses whether plants and animals should be relocated in the face of rapid climate change.  

The James Marsh Professors-at-Large Program brings outstanding individuals of international distinction in the arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences, and applied fields to the University of Vermont. Professors-at-Large are non-resident faculty with six-year terms of office who conduct three or four residencies of one to two weeks. The program is named for James Marsh, the university’s fifth president, a major figure in nineteenth-century American intellectual life. The mandate of these professors is to invigorate the intellectual and cultural life of the university. Selected not only for their high accomplishments, but also for their broad-ranging interests and their personal and professional accessibility, Professors-at-Large typically offer public lectures or performances in the arts in addition to working with faculty and students.

For more information, visit the Marsh Professor-at-Large website, or contact Bess Malson-Huddle,, (802) 656-0462.