Board of Trustee Professorships - NIU - Board of Trustees

2013 Board of Trustees Professors

NIU has named Dan Gebo in anthropology, Paul Kelter in literacy education and Zhili Xiao in physics as its 2013 Board of Trustees Professors – a top university honor that recognizes faculty members for international renown in their research and excellence in all facets of teaching.

Gebo’s paleontological research is elucidating the origins of primates. Kelter is working to improve ways that students of all ages learn math and science. And Xiao is conducting pioneering work in the high-tech field of nanoscience.

Each of the three also has built a reputation for top-tier teaching, bringing students into the research fold.

“This award recognizes the very best of the best, and this trio couldn’t be more deserving,” says NIU President John Peters. “Professors Gebo, Kelter and Xiao are extraordinary and engaging mentors to NIU students, and they are also well known internationally for being at the very forefront in their respective fields of research.”


The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees Professorship was established in 2007.

The award recognizes international prominence in research as well as excellence in all facets of teaching.

Upon appointment to the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees Professorship, the recipient receives a stipend of $10,000/year that will be renewed annually during the period that the individual serves in this role.

No more than three awards are made each academic year and a total of no more than fifteen professorships will be active at any time.The term of the appointment is five years and is renewable on a competitive basis.


Dan Gebo

Dan Gebo
Department of Anthropology

Paul Kelter

Paul Kelter
Department of Literacy Education

Zhili Xiao

Zhili Xiao
Department of Physics