Patients of Hopkins physician GEORGE T. NAGER and John Niparko, the inaugural chairholder, supported creation of this professorship. Dr. Nager was considered one of the world's leading otological surgeons and otopathologists, as well as an outstanding teacher, mentor, and clinician. Among his many honors was inclusion in the American Otological Society, which restricts membership to 100 living individuals, and in the Collegium, which permits only 20 American members. Dr. Nager came to Hopkins as a fellow and joined the faculty in 1954. In 1969, he was named director of the Division of Otology and Laryngology, which the following year became the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He stepped down as chairman in 1984. Dr. Nager reorganized the Temporal Bone Pathology Laboratory, which under his leadership gained an international reputation. His publications on tumors and bone diseases involving the ear have become classic references. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Service Professor. Dr. Nager died in 2010.
After conducting research through the Internet in 1996 on the efficacy of cochlear implants, SIGRID T. CERF came to Hopkins for implantation by otoneurologic surgeon John Niparko. When the device was activated, she was able to speak by phone to her husband, VINTON G. CERF, for the first time in 30 years of marriage. Dr. Cerf is the co-inventor of the Internet and he serves as Google's Chief Internet Evangelist. He has received many awards, including the United States National Medal of Technology, the silver medal of the International Telecommunications Union and the Marconi Fellowship. He is a fellow of the United States National Academy of Engineering and of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is a trustee of Gallaudet University.