From Fifty Years of Sathers (1965) by Sterling Dow:
"Almost one hundred years ago Jane K. Sather created at Berkeley a gate, a bell tower, and two professorships. The bell tower unites the campus; the gate introduces the campus to the outside world. One of the professorships has become the most prestigious of all English-language annual professorships on a classical subject.
"After a fairly routine, albeit distinguished, beginning, a formal pattern for the Sather professorships was established. In 1920 two members of the Department of Greek suggested a series of eight public lectures, demanding a substantive contribution to knowledge, or at least a new synthesis; exposed to a critical audience when delivered, exposed to the scholarly world when printed. . . A most discerning choice of lectures would be necessary, and there would nearly always be an element of gambling. It was decided to take the risk. The public lectures were inaugurated and the printed volumes began to be published."
More information online at: http://www.classics.berkeley.edu/people/sather/history