Patrick Tolan, director of the Youth-Nex center to promote effective youth development has been named the Charles S. Robb Professor of Education at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.
An endowed chair is one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on a University of Virginia faculty member. The highest levels of performance, and national and international recognition of that performance, are inherent guidelines for this appointment.
The institutional expectation of unquestionable excellence means Professor Tolan is deemed to have achieved the highest stature and exemplary accomplishment in a discipline or area of research as judged by an independent assessment of his or her peers.
"I am honored to receive this recognition and to have my name linked to this distinguished person who worked in many ways to support youth development and improve education," Tolan said.
For over 34 years, Tolan has conducted research with multiple collaborators on youth living in high-risk communities and has supported efforts to assist and protect healthy development of families. He has been the Principal Investigator on multiple funded projects and has authored over 225 publications. His research sheds light on how neighborhoods affect risk for school failure, delinquency, and mental health problems.
Tolan has championed the Youth-Nex center's mission, since its inception in 2009, to promote positive youth development and enhance the potential of youth as healthy, productive citizens, and to reduce developmental risk.
Currently, Tolan leads the 7-year $11.75 million group randomized trial, the Compassionate Schools Project, a collaboration with the City of Louisville and the Jefferson County Public Schools. It is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum. Facilitating the integrated development of mind and body, the project interweaves support in academic achievement, mental fitness, health, and compassionate character. The research aims to have a major impact on children's education in terms of academic performance, physical education, and character development. With public elementary schools in Louisville, Kentucky — the 28th-largest district in the U.S. — as its proving ground, the findings will be applicable nationwide.
Patrick H. Tolan also serves as professor in the department of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences in the UVA School of Medicine.
The chair is named after Charles S. Robb, an esteemed statesman, a staunch proponent of education with extraordinary service to our country and democracy.
About the Award
The Charles S. Robb Professor of Education was funded by Bahman Batmanghelidj of McLean, Virginia, as a lasting tribute to Senator Charles S. Robb's accomplishments as a champion of education in Virginia. A University of Virginia School of Law graduate, Robb served in the U.S. Senate from 1989-2001. He was the 64th governor of Virginia from 1982-1986.
Robb was Virginia's 64th Governor and was elected to the U.S. Senate where he became the only member of Congress ever to serve simultaneously on all three national security committees (Intelligence, Armed Services, and Foreign Relations). As governor, he balanced the state budget without raising taxes, and dedicated an additional $1 billion for education. Robb also appointed a record number of women and minorities to state offices. Before joining Congress he chaired the Southern Governors' Association, the Democratic Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States, the Democratic Leadership Council, Jobs for America's Graduates, the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors and the Virginia Forum on Education, and was President of the Council of State Governments. He joined the faculty of George Mason University as a Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy in 2001.