Saint Joseph’s Names New Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chairs

The Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chair position was awarded to four new faculty members in business, math and natural sciences, social and health sciences, and humanities and performing arts.

Saint Joseph's Hagan Arena and Mandeville Hall during sunrise

by Layal Srour

This summer, four new faculty members from diverse fields of study were named Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chair holders for the 2023-2024 academic year. Saint Joseph’s University established the Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chair position more than two decades ago to support outstanding faculty and their research through an endowment from alumnus William Dirk Warren ’50. The chair holders for this academic year are:

The faculty will research topics ranging from marketing and music to exploring how loss of sleep impacts cognitive function. 

“We are proud to support Saint Joseph’s faculty and their commitment to research,” says Peter Norberg, PhD, professor, senior associate provost for academic and faculty support. “The Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chair incentivizes faculty to do work that impacts the community more broadly — extending the reach of their research beyond academia.”

The competitive appointment process of the new chair holders was overseen by the University’s deans, with final approval given by the Office of the Provost. These appointments support the University’s commitment to lifelong learning and support faculty research as they teach the next generation of industry leaders. Each faculty chairholder will serve two-year terms, and receive one course release annually and a research stipend. 

Learn more about the new Dirk Warren ’50 Sesquicentennial Chair holders and their research projects: 


David Allan

David Allan, PhD, professor of marketing

Allan’s primary area of research is advertising cues and effects with a focus on music, commercial lengths and disclaimers. In his current research, he is focusing on the rise of the metaverse in marketing and music, and its relevance to Saint Joseph’s students. While the metaverse and virtual learning are topics currently being taught to business students, Allan plans to enhance these opportunities through speaker series, AMA marketing and metaverse conferences, hackathons and course development. 

Math and Natural Sciences (STEM)

Jennifer Tudor

Jennifer Tudor, PhD, associate professor of biology

Tudor’s research explores the field of neuroscience and the impact that sleep deprivation has on cognitive function. Over the past seven years at Saint Joseph's University, Tudor developed a robust research program committed to engaging undergraduate and graduate students in hands-on, lab-based research. An average of eight to 12 students are involved in the Tudor Lab annually, where they examine the role of molecular signaling pathways on behavior. The lab also studies the impact of sleep on memory storage and protein synthesis in the brain. Members of the Tudor Lab gain experience in molecular genetics, protein biochemistry, murine aseptic surgery and behavioral assessment.

Tudor is an advocate for increasing the pipeline of young and underrepresented neuroscience students. Her research has been supported by four national awards and grants: a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Aging R01 grant, a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant, Faculty of Undergraduate Neuroscience equipment loan award, and a LI-COR equipment grant.

Social and Health Sciences

Katherine Sibley

Katherine Sibley, PhD, professor and director of American studies program

Sibley’s research will focus onMichelle Obama's life as first lady, drawing on the work she has been doing on first ladies for many years, including her monograph on Florence Harding in 2009, “First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy,” and an edited book, “A Companion to First Ladies" (2016). With her project on Michelle Obama, the first Black first lady of the United States, Sibley will examine her historic role in the White House, as well as her efforts as an advocate, a role model/celebrity and a wife and mother of young children.

In 2021, Sibley was a founding member of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE) and presented regularly about first ladies in various outlets. At Saint Joseph’s, her seminar on first ladies, as well as her courses on women's history, afford her the opportunity to introduce students to sources and artifacts on the life and careers of these influential women.

Humanities and Performing Arts

Suzanne Sorkin

Suzanne Sorkin, PhD, associate professor and chair of music, theater and film

Sorkin will compose four new compositions over the next two years for critically acclaimed ensembles and regional orchestras, including the Jasper Spring Quartet and the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, several of which will be professionally recorded. Public performances of her new creative works in high-profile concerts and festivals, as well as at universities and colleges, by performers and ensembles at the highest level will enhance Saint Joseph’s reputation and have a positive impact on the local and regional community.

One of the ensembles will also provide outreach to students enrolled in her fall 2023 course, MTF 252 Music Composition I, culminating in a performance of student works at the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum on campus. Sorkin's work has been recognized with a number of highly competitive national and international awards, grants and commissions. Some of these recognitions include the Fromm Music Foundation Commission at Harvard University, Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music Quad Cities, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).