The memories of a famed Kansas University pharmaceutical researcher and a long-time KU supporter were honored at a ground-breaking ceremony Saturday for a new bioscience research building on KU's west campus.
"This is a celebration of vision," KU Chancellor Gene Budig told those gathered Saturday at a ground-breaking ceremony for the new $8.95 million Dolph Simons Center for Bioscience Research.
Budig praised Dolph Simons, the late editor and publisher of the Journal-World, for his help in bringing to KU the late Takeru Higuchi, an internationally known pharmaceutical researcher.
"Dolph Simons Sr. saw the enormous potential of pharmaceutical science early on," Budig said. "Quite frankly, he saw it as the future, and he wanted the University of Kansas to play a decisive role in its emergence."
As chairman of the KU Endowment Association, Simons "seized the opportunity to help recruit Tak Higuchi from the University of Wisconsin." Budig said. "Dolph saw Tak as the person to lead the discipline here and nationally. He was right. Tak became the father of physical pharmacy."
Budig said it was most appropriate that the alliance the two men forged be kept alive through the construction of the new center on KU's west campus.
"The Simons Building will house the Higuchi Biosciences Center," Budig said. "There could be no more appropriate arrangement.
"Their shared vision and commitment have taken the University of Kansas to unprecedented heights in pharmaceutical science," Budig said. "This is a proud moment for all of us."
Work has already begun on the center, which will provide research space for KU's nationally recognized pharmaceutical and biochemical programs. The building will house laboratories, offices and lab support space and will bring Higuchi researchers to one location.
The building is being funded by grants totaling $4.9 million from the National Cancer Institute and a special state-approved revenue bond fund of $4.05 million, which KU will repay.
The building is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy in fall 1995.
The Higuchi Biosciences Centers consists of the Centers of Excellence for biomedical research, bioanalytical research and drug delivery research.
Higuchi was distinguished professor of chemistry and pharmacy at KU from 1967 until his death in 1987.
Budig said Simons had an "unquestioned commitment to many programs at this institution."
Among others praising the late Higuchi and the late Simons at the ceremony were Ed Meyen, executive vice chancellor, and Elias Michaelis, director of the Higuchi Bioscience Centers.
Howard Mossberg, vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and public service, said the building was the sixth construction project started on west campus for biosciences research.
Mossberg praised Kansas's congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., as being instrumental is getting funding for the Simons building.
Budig also praised Dolph Simons Jr., who has chaired the KU Endowment Association and is now a vice chair of the endowment association.
"He too has made numerous contributions to the University of Kansas. He too cares very deeply about its future," Budig said.
Dolph Simons Jr., editor and publisher of the Journal-World, said he and his family were "extremely happy and proud" about the building being named for his father.
"If Dad were here today, I know how proud and complimented he would be. But, at the same time, he would say, 'You know, this shouldn't be done for me, it should be done for somebody else,'" he said. "He much preferred to work in the background. He much preferred to have the spotlight shine on somebody else, rather than on him."
Simons said his father had a high regard for excellence for those skilled in their various fields.
"I know how proud he would be to have a center such as this that stands for excellence to carry his name," Simons said.
Simons said his brother, Dr. John Simons, a KU graduate, majored in chemistry.
"Because of this, our entire family became far better acquainted and aware of the excellence of the KU chemistry department," Simons said. "This too, offers another tie why our whole family is so proud of the building."