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University Relations

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Feb. 20, 2006
Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

Statement by Professor Georg, chancellor RE: Professor’s departure for Minnesota

LAWRENCE — Gunda Georg, University Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas, today released the following statement regarding her appointment next fall as chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Georg also will hold two endowed positions at Minnesota: the Robert Vince Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and a McKnight Distinguished Professorship.

“My decision to accept the offer from the University of Minnesota has been an extremely difficult one because I have been very happy at the University of Kansas and have many good friends and research collaborators here. KU is a great place to work.

“I especially appreciate the support I have received from Chancellor Hemenway and Provost Shulenburger. KU presented a compelling counteroffer. Ultimately, however, I could not turn down the opportunity at Minnesota, which, due to a patent infringement settlement, has unprecedented resources at its disposal.

“I leave one of the very top medicinal chemistry departments and pharmacy schools in the nation. I started out here as an assistant professor and received excellent mentorship. That is why you come to a place like KU: to work in an excellent environment with superb faculty and learn how to develop your own research skills. This is exactly the kind of environment and infrastructure I am being asked to develop at Minnesota. Given the history and reputation of KU and the School of Pharmacy, I know they will be able to recruit a prominent faculty researcher to pick up where I leave off.

“I have enjoyed working here so very much with my esteemed colleagues, students and staff. I will have nothing but the fondest memories of KU and Mount Oread.”

Statement by Chancellor Robert Hemenway:

“An unprecedented windfall from a patent settlement enabled Minnesota to search for the best talent nationally in medicinal chemistry. That the path led to the University of Kansas is no surprise, as KU has long been a national leader. We made a significant counteroffer, but we understand Professor Georg’s decision. She is respected by everyone who knows her and her work, and we are grateful for her extraordinarily productive years at the University of Kansas.

“At the University of Kansas, we dedicate tremendous resources to the efforts of our outstanding research faculty, and we will continue to do so. We will press on with our aggressive research program in drug discovery and cancer therapeutics — Professor Georg’s research areas. Administration of the recent $10 million NIH (COBRE) grant to develop promising cancer-research faculty at KU and across Kansas will transfer to Professor Barbara Timmerman, a prominent medicinal chemist recently recruited to join our distinguished faculty.

“As much as we will miss Professor Georg, we know that KU’s national reputation in medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry is the result of a succession of remarkable scientists here. That Professor Georg is being asked to build for another major public research university what we have established at Kansas is ratification of the successful strategy KU has developed and to which we remain fully committed.”


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