Topeka The state Board of Regents unanimously agreed Thursday to name a $6.9 million research building at Kansas University in honor of Dolph Simons Sr., the late editor and publisher of the Journal-World.
The Dolph Simons Sr. Center for Biosciences Research is scheduled to be built on KU's West Campus in Lawrence. The building, financed with a $4.9 million federal grant, is to be opened in 1993.
Simons, who died in February 1989, was chair of the KU Endowment Association from 1966 to 1972 and president of the KU Alumni Association in 1950 and 1951. He received KU's Distinguished Service Citation in 1956 and the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1975.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig said Simons contributed significantly to the university's efforts to develop a world-class center for pharmaceutical sciences. Simons worked with KU officials to bring Takeru Higuchi, "father of physical pharmacy," to KU in 1967. Higuchi died in 1987.
"Mr. Simons' vision set in motion one of the most dramatic success stories in KU's 125-year history," Budig said. "Dr. Higuchi, whose accomplishments in chemistry, pharmacy and business are legendary, took every opportunity to underscore the importance of the early support of Dolph Simons Sr. and the KU Endowment Association.
"Kansas and our society will forever be richer because of his vision of a quarter century ago. No one has done more for the KU Endowment Association than he during his long and distinguished tenure as a board member and chairperson.''
One of the Higuchi/Endowment research achievement awards, established in 1981 to honor people who have worked to further outstanding research, carries Simons' name. The award annually recognizes an outstanding biomedical science researcher.
"All members of our family are extremely pleased and appreciative of Chancellor Budig's desire to name this important building in honor of my father for his many services in behalf of the university," said Dolph Simons Jr., editor and publisher of the Journal-World.
"I know dad would be highly honored. As an endowment association officer, he played a significant role in acquiring the land which is now called the West Campus, where this building will be located, and he also played a major role at the time Dr. Takeru Higuchi made his decision to move to KU."
Four research entities make up the Higuchi Biosciences Research Center at KU. They are organized into centers of bioanalytical research, biomedical research, drug delivery, and molecular engineering and immunology. Each is supported with private and state funding.
Simons was a 1925 graduate of KU and spent his entire career in the newspaper business, starting as a newspaper boy for his father, W.C. Simons. He worked as an Associated Press reporter in Chicago before returning to Lawrence to join the family newspaper business.
A Lawrence resident for 84 years, Simons was instrumental in starting the Chancellors Club, which is composed of individuals who pledge to contribute at least $1,000 a year to the university for unrestricted purposes. He was one of the first eight recipients of the Ellsworth medallion.
Budig said KU secured $4.9 million for construction of the building from National Institutes of Health, which awarded KU $2.4 million in December 1990 and $2.5 million in September. The remainder, about $2 million, will be raised by KU.
Elias Michaelis, director of the Higuchi Center, said the new building will bring together bioscience researchers who are scattered over the campus and enhance their scientific work with improved labratories.
"The facilities we have now are filled to capacity," he said. "They don't allow us to expand programs for what we have already received funding."
Charles Decedue, executive director of the Higuchi Center, said the new building will be located north of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Laboratories on West Campus, which is divided from KU's main campus by Iowa Street.
He said existing lab space for Higuchi researchers is too limited and lacks modern design elements, including safety features.
Researchers at the center will study technologies for the diagnosis of disease, agents for treatment of disease and how to deliver the most effective disease-treating agents.
Targets of their research include cancer chemotherapy, drug analysis, cardiovascular functions, nervous system, drug addiction and neurological disorders.