LAWRENCE – Four faculty members at the University of Kansas have been named recipients of the state’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence: the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. It is the first time all four recipients hold appointments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The four will be recognized on Friday, Nov. 2, during a ceremony at the Lied Center of Kansas.
This is the 31st annual presentation of the awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at KU from 1967 to 1983, and his wife, Aya. The awards recognize the exceptional long-term research accomplishments of faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Each award includes a citation and a $10,000 award for ongoing research efforts. The money can be used for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, hiring research assistants or other support related to research.
This year’s recipients are Susan Lunte, Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Rolfe Mandel, professor of anthropology; Jonathan Mayhew, professor of Spanish; and Judy Wu, University Distinguished Professor of Physics. All are faculty members at KU’s Lawrence campus.
Awards are given in four categories: humanities and social sciences, basic sciences, biomedical sciences and applied sciences. Each award is named for former leaders of KU Endowment who played key roles in recruiting Higuchi to KU. Their financial support of KU helped enhance university research throughout the state of Kansas.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will speak at the presentation ceremony. Past Higuchi Award recipients who attend will also be recognized.
This year’s recipients of Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards are:
Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences
Susan Lunte is director of the Ralph N. Adams Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry and director of the recently announced COBRE Center for the Molecular Analysis of Disease Pathways, funded by the National Institutes of Health. She came to KU in 1987 as an assistant scientist in the Center for Bioanalytical Research, becoming its director in 1994 and a faculty member in 1995. Her academic background includes a bachelor of arts from Kalamazoo College and a doctorate from Purdue University.
Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences
Rolfe Mandel serves as senior scientist and executive director of the Odyssey Research Program at the Kansas Geological Society. He first came to KU in 1976 as a research assistant in the Institute for Social and Environmental Studies and later taught in the Department of Geography. He joined the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1989 but returned to KU in 1993. His academic background includes a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and master’s and doctoral degrees from KU.
Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities and Social Sciences
Jonathan Mayhew is a leading scholar of modern and contemporary Spanish poetry. He came to KU in 1996 from Ohio State University, where he taught for seven years, advancing from assistant to associate professor with tenure. He became a professor at KU in 2009 and is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities, among other awards. His academic background includes an bachelor of arts degree from the University of California-Davis and a doctorate from Stanford University.
Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science
Judy Wu is director of the Kansas Center for Solar Energy Research, a statewide initiative under the auspices of the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program. Her Thin Film and Nanoscience Group at KU works at the interface between nanoscience and material science/physics. She came to KU in 1993 and progressed to professor in 2003. Her academic background includes a bachelor of science degree from the University of Science and Technology of China and a doctorate from the University of Houston.
Attendance at the Nov. 2 ceremony is by invitation. More information about the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Awards is online.