A mathematician, a psychologist, a medicinal chemist and a philosophy professor received the first-ever Kansas University Scholarly Research Awards at a ceremony on Tuesday.
The four honorees: Brian Blagg, professor of medicinal chemistry; Derrick Darby, associate professor of philosophy; Patricia Hawley, associate professor of psychology; and Bangere Purnaprajna, professor of mathematics, each received $8,000 for their work.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that the awards came about because of a suggestion from a research task force associated with KU’s ongoing strategic planning process.
“Our honorees and their colleagues contribute to the university every day with their teaching and their scholarly research,” she said.
The four honorees were nominated by colleagues and chosen from among a field of 30 excellent candidates for the award, said Victor Bailey, distinguished professor of British history and director of the Hall Center for the Humanities and chairman of the committee that selected the recipients.
“Some of these people have already turned down offers from other universities,” Bailey said.
Blagg is being honored for his work with protein inhibitors associated with possible treatments of cancer and diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Darby is receiving the award for his book “Rights, Race and Recognition,” which examines theories of rights as related to the experience of black Americans before the Civil War and during segregation.
Hawley has developed Resource Control Theory, which seeks to explain social dominance. It is featured in most widely used textbooks on child and adolescent development.
Purnaprajna has contributed to algebraic geometry and the classification of algebraic surfaces and has been published in the top journals in the field of mathematics.
“I want my colleagues and my students to recognize that this is an award for all of us,” said Blagg, echoing the sentiments of some of the other recipients who spoke Tuesday.