Ian Bogost has been named the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. A lecture and reception to celebrate his appointment were held March 29 in Ridgley Hall’s Holmes Lounge.

A scholar, critic and award-winning game designer, Bogost joined the WashU faculty in 2021 as a professor and director of film and media studies in Arts & Sciences and a professor of computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering. He is the author or co-author of 10 books and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about science, technology, design and culture.

Bogost’s distinguished professorship was established with a commitment from Barbara and David Thomas and in conjunction with the McKelvey Challenge as part of the program’s effort to encourage professorships that combine engineering with other disciplines. A WashU alumna, Barbara Schaps Thomas (AB ’76) spent nearly three decades at HBO, where she served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of HBO Sports. David Thomas is a co-founder of The Leitner Thomas Group, a business management firm based in New York.

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin congratulates Bogost. (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University) 

“Barbara, it’s great to be here with you to celebrate. Thank you for all that you’ve done to support our mission at Washington University,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, who formally presented the professorship medallion. “Ian, your scholarship and creativity speak to academic programs across the Danforth Campus. It is my honor to present you with the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professorship.”

“Ian has a talent for making complex ideas compelling and accessible,” said Feng Sheng Hu, dean of Arts & Sciences and the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor. “His work blends a wide range of passions and disciplines with humor, energy and sharp cultural insight — and is playing a pivotal role in building new bridges between Arts & Sciences, McKelvey Engineering and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.”

“Ian is a scholar, a video game designer and an internationally recognized theorist of digital culture,” said Aaron Bobick, dean of the McKelvey School of Engineering and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “He approaches media from the perspective of both a critic and a practitioner. As intersections between the arts, the humanities and engineering continue to grow — alongside emerging areas like artificial intelligence — we are incredibly fortunate to have him as part of the WashU faculty.”


Chancellor Martin (left) applauds as Bogost shakes hands with Feng Sheng Hu, dean of Arts & Sciences. (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)

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