KU News Release


Sept. 1, 2009
Contact: Jill Jess, University Relations, (785) 864-8858

'Surprise patrol' honors another professor at KU with $5,000 Kemper fellowship

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas “surprise patrol” today presented another professor with a $5,000 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

The Kemper fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 14th year, the awards are supported by $650,000 in gifts from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $650,000 in matching funds from KU Endowment.

Today’s winner is Leisha DeHart-Davis, associate professor of public administration.

In all, 20 professors will be honored and $100,000 distributed this year as part of the Kemper tradition. Today’s was the final presentation for Lawrence campus faculty members. Four professors at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., also will be honored.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after the death of the Kansas City, Mo., banking executive and civic leader. The foundation supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

More about today’s winner:

Leisha DeHart-Davis, associate professor of public administration
DeHart-Davis’ caring attitude toward students and high standards of performance demonstrate her teaching excellence. She instructs public administration classes to all levels of students, from undergraduate to doctoral, and has an enthusiasm that inspires. One student said, “The university gained a huge asset when they hired professor DeHart-Davis to the public administration program. In fact, it is because of her expertise that I might someday pursue my Ph.D.” DeHart-Davis has volunteered to teach classes with challenging content, including one called Women in Public Administration. Marilu Goodyear, department chair, said that one male graduate of that course listed it as his favorite and one that influenced him substantially. “I can say, without hesitation, professor DeHart-Davis is the best teacher I have known,” Goodyear said.


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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