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Mark Bouton Appointed to New Robert B. Lawson Professorship in Psychology

Mark Bouton, professor of psychology at the University of Vermont, has been named the first Robert B. Lawson Green & Gold Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont, it was announced by Eleanor M. Miller, dean of UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The professorship was established with a $250,000 gift from the Segal & Davis Family Foundation of Charlestown, W.V., in honor of Robert B. Lawson, professor of psychology, who retired in May of 2010 after having served 44 years on the faculty in the Department of Psychology. The philanthropic foundation was formed by Scott S. Segal ’77, a prominent trial attorney in Charleston, and his wife, Robin Jean Davis, chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Segal said the family foundation has founded several professorships in law and medicine at institutions in West Virginia, and “we thought it was time to do something for my alma mater at Vermont.” When he began looking back at his time at UVM, he says, Robert Lawson immediately came to mind. “Professor Lawson was one of my favorite professors of psychology,” said Segal, who majored in psychology at UVM and earned his law degree at West Virginia University. “He opened my eyes to a lot of perception issues in psychology and how important they can be, and I’ve applied many of those in my practice of law.”

“I’m very honored,” Bouton said of the appointment, which supports teaching, service, research, salary, benefits and other general purposes of an endowed faculty position in the Department of Psychology. “What makes it especially nice is that Robert Lawson has been such a good colleague and friend of mine. I reflect on that, and I think, I’m just a temporary stakeholder, but this is going to honor Robert forever.”

In addition to his responsibilities as full professor, Bouton serves as director of the General/Experimental Graduate Program and assistant director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program in the Department of Psychology. His research centers on basic behavioral processes in learning, memory and emotion, and how time and context influence them.

“Professor Bouton’s appointment as the Lawson Green and Gold Professor is particularly appropriate at this point in UVM’s history because his research was, and will be, so central to the success of university’s newly launched Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Neuroscience, Behavior and Health,” said Eleanor Miller. “As an internationally recognized leader in this important area of research, he richly deserves this recognition. I am also thrilled to have Emeritus Professor Lawson recognized in this way by a former student.”

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