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Nationwide Insurance Endows Professorship

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Photo by Steve Williams.

The professorship is the first of its kind in the college. Funds from the endowment will provide the holder of the professorship with resources to expand research, teaching, or outreach efforts and best safety practices.

In April, Nationwide Insurance announced that it would give Penn State $1 million to create and endow the Nationwide Insurance Professorship in the College of Agricultural Sciences. 

“The Nationwide Insurance Professorship builds upon Penn State’s nationally leading role in farm safety education and outreach by allowing a standout faculty member to further advance safety programs and expand research and outreach methods,” said Barbara Christ, former interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dennis Murphy, formerly a Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, was selected to become the first holder of the professorship. His new title is Nationwide Insurance Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health.

“This professorship is an opportunity to try some innovative things for agricultural safety and health that may be applicable not only in Pennsylvania but across the Northeast and perhaps with all farmers and ranchers across the country,” says Murphy. “I plan to develop safety and health management plans that farmers and ranchers can implement utilizing self-inspections. The mobile app for hazard inspections we are working on, we think will be very good. Once we have that, there may be opportunities for insurance companies to develop specific safety programs for their clientele.”

Penn State has enjoyed a positive relationship with Nationwide and its partners over the years. The company employs more than 200 of the University’s alumni.

“We are proud to partner with Penn State to promote safety and health in the agricultural industry across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and throughout the entire country,” said Chad Jester, vice president of corporate citizenship at Nationwide Insurance. “We remain committed to supporting farmers and promoting innovative initiatives for the farming community. We recognize Penn State’s leadership in these kinds of educational initiatives, and endowing a professorship at Penn State will increase our knowledge about agricultural safety issues and allow us to find new ways to support the importance of safety in the industry.”