Life sciences building at medical center to be named for Hemenway

? Former Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway’s name will front the Life Sciences Innovation Center at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously supported naming the research facility after Hemenway, who was chancellor from 1995 through June.

Current KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said Hemenway served the university “in an outstanding fashion for 14 years and was integrally involved in the development and construction of this building.”

The $57.2 million building opened in 2007. More than 300 people work there on 129 research projects with funding totaling $109 million.

The Hall Family Foundation contributed $27 million to equip the building as part of a $42 million commitment to the KU Endowment Association in 2001, according to a regents memo.

Gray-Little said donors did not want to name the building after themselves, but did support naming the building.

Regent Dan Lykins said it was an honor for him to vote “yes” on the proposal to name it after Hemenway.

“He was a great leader at KU and a very good friend to higher education,” Lykins said.

During his administration, Hemenway focused on increasing research activity at KU, expanding campus facilities and working in the bi-state effort to make the Kansas City area a hub for biosciences.

The life science center was designed to foster collaboration and recruit top researchers, both key components in obtaining National Cancer Institute designation, KU officials said.

After stepping down last summer, Hemenway went on sabbatical leave, during which he said he would work on a book about intercollegiate athletics and American values.