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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

IU Bloomington Announces First Philanthropically-Funded Professorship

When Dr. John and Mrs. Carole Seffrin met as freshmen at Ball State University, they did not know where their paths would lead. They both shared a passion for helping others and giving back, and over their 50 years of marriage have turned this passion into a legacy of philanthropy.

John R. Seffrin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society, Inc.
[Photo: Dr. John Seffrin]

Dr. Seffrin has volunteered and worked in various non-profit organizations, and Mrs. Seffrin had a long career in education. Over the years, they looked for ways to give back to others with a specific focus on helping make the world a healthier place.

“John has worked endlessly throughout his career to make a difference in public health,” Mrs. Seffrin says. “Both of us truly believe it’s our goal to help people who would be underserved. Early in my career, I taught kids with special needs and it taught me about the need to reach out to other people.”

The Seffrins view philanthropy as a unique way they can make a difference and impact the future. Through a gift to the IU School of Public Health, the Seffrins have created the first philanthropically-funded faculty position at the school.

“The John & Carole Seffrin Professor of Population Health is a fully-funded faculty position. Endowed faculty positions such as this provide vital resources to our school, supporting research, teaching, and technology. They are vital in both the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty while ensuring continued vitality and growth in the essential core areas of teaching and research,” says Dr. Mohammad Torabi, dean of the School of Public Health. “We are so appreciative of this generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Seffrin.”

The gift funding the professorship will be used toward salary, and support for research, manuscript preparation and graduate research assistance, among other things. –

“We’ve benefited so much that we feel the need to give back,” Dr. Seffrin says. “With this professorship, we know it’ll be there in perpetuity, and continue to be there long after we’re gone.”

The couple sees this as both a gift and an investment that will help the field of public health and improve the health of those locally, nationally and across the globe.

“We want to do anything we can to help public health become the preeminent healthcare specialty of the century. Unless we can elevate public health, we’ll never become the healthiest country,” John explains. “This is our small way to increase the prospects of that coming to fruition.”

As the Seffrins continue on their path together, they’re traveling, spending time with their one-year-old grandson, and simply enjoying life. And, through philanthropy, are helping others and the field of public health.

Dr. Seffrin says, “It’s a special feeling, a privilege to be able to give back.”