Dr. John R. Ward, professor and chief of the University of Utah School of Medicine's Division of Rheumatology, is the first holder of the newly endowed Nora Eccles Harrison Presidential Chair in Rheumatology.

The Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation, which has given more than $12 million to the U. over the past decade, will fund the chair. A million dollars is required to establish a presidential chair at the university.Richard A. Harrison, whose late wife Nora Eccles Harrison established the foundation, is foundation board chairman and was honored at a recent dinner at the university.

"Endowed chairs enable the University of Utah to compete successfully for a limited number of internationally recognized academic physicians, scholars and researchers," said U. President Chase Peterson. "We are fortunate to have just such a person on our own faculty."

Rheumatology is the study of arthritis-related diseases, which affect one out of every seven Americans. Scientists have identified more than 100 expressions of the disease in virtually every organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, arteries, skin, nails and eyes, as well as the joints.

"The endowed chair will help ensure that the momentum in arthritis research and patient care created over the past 30 years will continue into the next century and beyond," said Dr. Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., dean of the medical school. "We are grateful for all the foundation has done for the school of medicine, for the advancement of medicine, and for the many whose lives will be improved as a result."

This is the second chair endowed by the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation at the U. Medical School. A presidential chair in cardiology was established in 1979.