Vice President Albert Gore Jr. established the Nancy Gore Hunger Chair of Excellence in Environmental Studies. The formal announcement was made by Gore on campus May 2, 1994. He partially funded the chair with proceeds ($50,000) from his book Earth in the Balance and assisted the university in raising the remainder of the $450,000 required to obtain matching funds of $500,000 from the State.
Nancy Gore Hunger, Gore’s sister, was a graduate of Vanderbilt University’s College of Arts and Sciences. In 1961 she received a midlevel political appointment to work with Sargent Shriver in establishing the Peace Corps. She worked in Washington Peace Corps headquarters from 1961 to 1964. She was introduced to her former husband, Frank Hunger of Mississippi, by Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon in 1959. Gore and Hunger were married in 1966 at the Gore farm, and they moved to Greenville, Mississippi, where Frank Hunger practiced law. Nancy Gore Hunger died of lung cancer in 1984 at age 45. In his remarks, Gore characterized his sister as the “very first volunteer in the Peace Corps.”
Dr. Daniel Simberloff, an ecologist at Florida State University, was appointed the first chair-holder in 1997.