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University Relations

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Feb. 17, 2005
Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336.

KU Chancellors Club names Paul Stephen Lim as new teaching professor

LAWRENCE -- Paul Stephen Lim, a University of Kansas professor of English and the creator of KU's English Alternative Theater (EAT), has been named the newest Chancellors Club Teaching Professor.

The Chancellors Club, established in 1977 by the Kansas University Endowment Association, is KU's major-donor organization. The Chancellors Club Teaching Professorships, which carry a $5,000 annual stipend, were established in 1981 to recognize and honor teaching excellence among KU faculty members. Recipients are selected for their outstanding teaching ability as acknowledged by their students and colleagues. Teaching professors retain the title as long as they teach at KU.

Lim said he was honored to be named a teaching professor. "It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized for doing that which, for me, is not really work but play," he said. "Teaching is like performing in front of a classroom. It is acting."

He joined the English department's creative writing staff as an assistant professor in 1989. Lim said he created EAT that same year as a way for his students to produce and critique their own plays.

In 1993, Lim and his students began entering EAT productions of KU student scripts in the playwriting competitions of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Twenty EAT student playwrights have gone on to win regional and professional awards, and five have advanced to the Kennedy Center's national festival in Washington, D.C. In 2004, a play by Lim's student, Kristen Wirsig, "The Story of Izanagi and Izanami," was the festival's national winner. Since Lim founded EAT, he and his students have produced more than 50 full productions and 100 staged readings.

Lim received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from KU in the 1970s. Before coming to KU he worked in Manila, Philippines, as a copywriter for the advertising companies J. Walter Thompson Co. and Philippine Advertising Counselors.

During the 1970s, Lim was a five-time winner of the Palanca Memorial Award for Literature, the most prestigious literary award in the Philippines, for his short stories and plays. Since then, he has received a number of awards and fellowships for writing.

His teaching honors at KU include the English department's Outstanding Teaching Award, a Conger-Gabel Teaching Professorship, the Mabel S. Fry Award for Teaching and a Kemper Teaching Fellowship. In 1996, he received a Kennedy Center gold medallion for his work with student playwrights. For four years, he served as National Playwriting Program chair for the region. During the 2003-04 academic year, he served on the Kennedy Center festival's National Selection Team, seeing 75 productions in eight regions and traveling more than 11,000 miles across the country.

Lim's career as a playwright in the United States was launched in 1976, when the American College Theatre Festival named his play "Conpersonas" Best Original Script. His plays have been produced in Los Angeles and off-Broadway in New York.

Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway said it was a pleasure to recognize Lim for starting the award-winning playwriting program at KU.

" Through his outstanding teaching, Paul Lim has enabled students to share their playwriting talent with other emerging playwrights across the nation," Hemenway said.

Lim received the Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship upon the retirement of Fred Van Vleck, professor of mathematics, who was awarded the professorship in 1985. The Chancellors Club currently supports 11 teaching professorships including the one held by Lim.

KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the oldest foundation of its type at a public university in the United States and one of the largest.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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