Four Kansas researchers honored with Higuchi awards

Four faculty members from two universities in Kansas were honored Tuesday with what Kansas University describes as the state’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence: the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards.

Recipients of this year's Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards are, from left, David Nualart, department of mathematics at Kansas State University — winner of the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences; Paulette Spencer, department of mechanical engineering at Kansas University — winner of the Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences; Stephen Welch, department of agronomy at K-State — winner of the Irvin Youngberg Award in Applied Sciences; and Michael Wehmeyer, department of special education at KU — winner of the Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities and Social Sciences. The four were honored Tuesday at the Lied Center.

The ceremony at the Lied Center was the 34th annual presentation of the awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at KU from 1967 to 1983, and his wife, Aya.

The awards recognize exceptional long-term research accomplishments of faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities, according to a news release from KU. Each award includes a citation and $10,000 for ongoing research efforts.

This year’s recipients were Michael Wehmeyer, Ross and Marianna Beach Professor of Special Education, KU; Paulette Spencer, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, KU; David Nualart, Black-Babcock Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, KU; and Stephen Welch, professor of agronomy, Kansas State University.

Awards are given in four categories: humanities and social sciences; basic sciences; biomedical sciences and applied sciences. Each award is named for former leaders of KU Endowment who played key roles in recruiting Higuchi to KU.