John Sutter
John Sutter, Ted Turner Visiting Professor of Environmental Media, presents at the 2023 Planet Forward Summit.


Creating a Sustainable Legacy

Endowed professorship shapes a greener future for generations



Climate change will require continuous adaptation, and now GW has an enduring fund focused on the story of climate change and its impact on our lives.

John Sutter, the inaugural Ted Turner Visiting Professor of Environmental Media at GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), is equipping the next generation of leaders to use storytelling to tackle the planet’s most urgent challenge. An award-winning journalist addressing the climate crisis through filmmaking and reporting on sustainability, Sutter holds an endowed professorship that honors the legacy of media pioneer, conservationist and philanthropist Ted Turner.

Spurred by a $500,000 gift from CNN, more than 250 donors contributed $3.2 million to endow a professorship that pays tribute to CNN’s founder and creates permanent faculty expertise in media and the environment, ensuring GW students will always be able to shape the narrative of our planet.


“Younger people are going to live longer into our changing future,” Sutter said. “It is exciting to be working with students who care and who are going to be telling the story now and well into the future.”

Frank Sesno, who spent 21 years as a CNN anchor, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief, helped SMPA by leading the fundraising efforts to launch the Turner professorship.

“This is the culmination of a dream to honor Ted, to share his audacious spirit, to teach future storytellers at this powerhouse of a university forever in Ted’s name,” Sesno said. “This is the perfect place to inspire young, fearless, global citizens to tell stories that inform, engage, connect, motivate and inspire action on behalf of this planet.”



Faculty Support in Action

GW has 130+ endowed professorships, and those faculty members are educating the next generation and shaping discovery in…




Free Speech

In 2022, Bobby R. Burchfield, JD ’79, a retired courtroom lawyer who never lost a jury trial, gave $4.5 million to endow a professorship in First Amendment law, supporting future generations of lawyers who will fight to defend freedom of speech.


Health Care

In 2022, Jonathan B. and Donna J. Perlin endowed the Seymour and Ruth Perlin Professorship in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) to honor Jonathan’s parents and their love for GW. The endowment supports a promising faculty member in psychiatry who shares SMHS Professor Emeritus Seymour Perlin’s passion for training residents in the field.


International Affairs

David Shambaugh, the Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science and International Affairs and founding director of the Elliott School’s China Policy Program, brings more than 50 years of expertise to high-level officials at the White House and the GW students he teaches.



David DeGrazia, the Elton Professor of Philosophy in the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, is a renowned moral philosopher in bioethics and animal ethics. His work has expanded to include examining artificial intelligence system consciousness and its moral complexities. He holds what was GW’s first philosophy professorship, established by a bequest more than 150 years ago by Romeo Elton.


Art Conservation

Among the few museums devoted to the study and preservation of global textiles, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum is home to a world-class collection spanning five millennia and five continents. With support provided by the Avenir Foundation, chief conservator Maria Fusco, the Margaret Wing Dodge Chair in Conservation, oversees collections care at GW’s state-of-the-art conservation lab and trains aspiring textile conservators to preserve global cultural heritage. In 2023, an anonymous donor contributed $25 million to the museum—the largest gift in The Textile Museum’s nearly 100-year history—to continue the long-term sustainability of textile conservation and other areas of the museum’s work.


Faculty Expertise

During the ‘22-‘23 school year, 575 GW faculty members and senior administrators have been featured 17,300+ times in major media outlets, sharing insight and data on topics from air quality to the war in Ukraine. Visit to hear expert commentary from GW professors.