New Chair and Four New Members announced for SSD Council

June 10, 2019 (last updated on November 21, 2019)

Announcements| Alumni

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Zachary Egan, AM’96, as chair of the Division of the Social Sciences Council. The Trustees have also approved four new members for the Council: Luann Jacobs, Matt Jacobs, Rohit Kumar, and Pamela Paresky. Their appointments are all effective July 1, for their first three-year term.

Egan succeeds Brook Payner, AB ’79 (Mathematics), AM ’81, PhD ’87 (Economics), who served as chair from 2016-2019.

“I would like to thank Brook for all that he has done over the past three years. He has skillfully steered the council during a time of change in the Division, while offering wonderful advice and support during my transition into the deanship,” said Amanda Woodward, dean of the Division of the Social Sciences and William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology. “I’m so grateful that he continues to make the Council a vital and robust community, and for his hard work in recruiting and encouraging new members to join our group.”

Egan joined the Council in 2016. He is presently Founder and Fund Manager of Anthropocene Capital Management, focusing on opportunities in small cap international equities benefitting from action – regulatory and otherwise – around climate change, pollution, and resource scarcity. He worked with U.S. technology companies in Eastern Europe and on the West Coast before coming to the University of Chicago, where he completed a Masters, with a concentration in political science, in 1996. Through a subsequent fellowship from the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Germany, where he focused on public policy initiatives to finance technological innovation, he gained exposure to the investment industry. From 2003-18 he was portfolio manager of Columbia Acorn International, a long-only equity strategy focused on small and mid-sized publicly traded companies outside of the U.S.  From 2014-18 he also served as President and Chief Investment Officer of Columbia Wanger Asset Management. Egan served as trustee of the Lycée Francais de Chicago from 2007 to 2015, and was a member of the inaugural class of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program (2008-10), during which time he co-authored a paper addressing public interest considerations around the growing trend towards infrastructure privatization. He is also a graduate of Middlebury College with a major in philosophy of science.

Luann Jacobs is a fiction writer whose work has appeared in The Westchester Review, Global City Review, BigCityLit, Lumina, and Zuzu’s Petals Quarterly. She has a MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College, a MS in Human Nutrition from Cornell University where she was the Katherine Harris Fellow, and a BS in Zoology from Duke University (1979) where she graduated magna cum laude.

Matthew Jacobs has been an independent consultant providing analysis, advice, and reports for expert witness testimony on swap market valuation, trading, and risk management practices since 2012. He has testified at depositions and court proceedings. Before 2012, he was Managing Director and Head of Interest Rate Derivatives Trading at AIG Financial Products (2000-2011); Senior Managing Director and Head of Interest Rate Derivatives Trading at Bear Stearns (1997-2000); and Managing Director and Co-Head USD Interest Rate Derivatives Trading at Lehman Brothers (1991-1997). From 1989 to 1991, he was Vice President of Citibank Global Markets at Citibank, and from 1983-1989, Vice President and Head of Research Department at GNP Financial. Jacobs holds a masters in Economics from the University of Chicago and a bachelor of arts in English from Duke University. He is currently President of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association in New Rochelle, NY; President of the Larchmont Mamaroneck Basketball Association, and a board member of the New Rochelle and Huguenot Historical Association.

Rohit Kumar is a partner at PDT Partners, a quantitative hedge fund in New York.  He has been at PDT since 2007.  Prior to PDT, he was in quantitative proprietary trading groups at Merrill Lynch and BNP/Cooper Neff.  Rohit completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago in 2000 and received his AB (Economics) and MS (Statistics) degrees from Stanford University.

Pamela Paresky is Chief Research Officer to the President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), writes a blog for Psychology Today (Happiness and the Pursuit of Leadership), and serves as Director of the Aspen Center for Human. Before joining FIRE, she provided leadership development, executive coaching, and consulting for a diverse group of organizations and families, and served as a civilian Adjunct and Research Professor at the US Air Force Academy in the Center for Character and Leadership Development. Paresky received her PhD from the Committee on Human Development. She also holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology, and a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. She serves on the Advisory Panel of the Ethics and Professional Policy Committee of the American College of Medical Quality, is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Miami-based United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, and serves on the Phillips Academy Andover Alumni Development Board. 

“I thank Zach, Luann, Matt, Rohit, and Pamela for joining our efforts. I look forward to working with them, and the other members of the Council, in the years ahead,” said Woodward.