Kansas University and the KU Alumni Association have named the recipients of the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest award bestowed by them.
The honorees are Wes Jackson, Salina; Dana Hudkins Crawford, Denver; Christine Knudsen, Geneva, Switzerland; and James and Virginia Stowers, Kansas City, Mo.
"This service citation is the highest honor the University of Kansas and the KU Alumni Association can bestow upon an individual to acknowledge an outstanding achievement for the betterment of society and on behalf of humanity," said Lora Stoppel, KU Alumni Association's vice president for special events. "This class clearly speaks to what the award represents."
They were chosen by a committee composed of former award recipients and representatives from the chancellor's office, the alumni association and KU Endowment Association. The recipients will be recognized during the All-University Supper at 7 p.m. May 18 in the Kansas Union Ballroom. Here's a look at their achievements:
Jackson, who graduated from KU in 1960, founded The Land Institute in Salina, where geneticists are working to reduce soil erosion, fossil fuel dependency and chemical contamination of land and water. He also established Sunshine Farm, which explores whether a farm can produce its own energy.
In 2000, the Swedish Parliament named Jackson the International Right Livelihood Laureate, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. In 1992, he received the MacArthur Fellowship, often called the "genius grant," from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Jackson has written numerous books, including "Becoming Native to this Place," "Altars of Unhewn Stone" and "New Roots for Agriculture."
Dana Hudkins Crawford
The 1953 KU graduate was key in revitalizing Denver's downtown area in the 1960s. She pioneered the concepts "urban renewal" and "downtown revitalization" while working to revive the historic Larimer Square. Today, the area serves as an example of how communities can preserve historic areas.
Crawford has received the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award and the Louise DuPont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She also has been inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, and Colorado Preservation created an award in her honor.
For 12 years, Knudsen has led efforts to speed the recovery of children in regions where war, disease and disaster have wreaked havoc. Her work with Save the Children and the United Nations has taken her across the globe to lead response teams. She has coordinated programs, developed manuals and established protocols to help improve the safety of the most vulnerable children.
In 2003, Knudsen found herself on the front lines among the first 20 international staff members allowed to enter southern Iraq.
The 1991 KU graduate is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
James and Virginia Stowers
Cancer survivors James and Virginia Stowers founded the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., in 1994 to find a cure for cancer and a variety of debilitating illnesses.
Many of the organization's scientists, doctors and researchers have joined the KU faculty, assisting in KU's effort to obtain National Cancer Center designation and the Kansas City area's drive to become a hub for life sciences research and treatment.
James Stowers is founder of American Century Investments, and Virginia Stowers is a former nurse.
The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Touched by Cancer Foundation have recognized the couple for their leadership.