KU News Release


June 8, 2011
Contact: Kristi Henderson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 785-864-3663

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences hands out more than $34,000 in awards

LAWRENCE — The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas honored outstanding faculty and students this spring with more than $34,000 in awards. The awards are made possible by gifts from College alumni and friends to KU Endowment.

Students receiving awards were honored during the College’s graduate recognition ceremony May 22.

The $500 Outstanding Thesis Awards went to Kelly Harper Berkson of Swanzey, N.H., and Andrew C. Overholt of Bethany, Okla.

Berkson earned a master’s degree in linguistics. Her thesis, “The nature of optional sibilant harmony in Navajo,” grew out of her passion for Native American languages and her desire to show how the Navajo language can be better taught and preserved. Her bachelor’s degree is from Vassar College.

Overholt earned a master’s degree in physics and astronomy. His thesis is titled “Testing the Link Between Terrestrial Climate Change and Galactic Spiral Arm Transit.” His research found that the movement of the solar system through the Milky Way could not be correlated with climate change on Earth. His bachelor’s degree is from Southern Nazarene University.

Tugce Kurtis, a doctoral student in psychology from Lawrence, received the $2,760 Howard J. Baumgartel Peace and Justice Award. Graduate students in the College or the School of Business are eligible for the award, which supports research for a thesis or dissertation related to peace and justice. She plans to use the funds to defray travel costs for a trip to Costa Rica to study the application of social psychology in the cause of social justice. She has a bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in Vermont. Glenn Adams, associate professor of psychology, nominated Kurtis for the award.

William Paschke, professor of mathematics, received the $1,000 Career Achievement Teaching Award presented to a retired faculty member in the College who has distinguished herself or himself through excellence in teaching. Paschke will be honored at the College’s new faculty reception in the fall.

The Jessie Marie Senor Cramer and Ann Cramer Root French and Italian and Spanish and Portuguese Faculty Awards are presented annually in the French and Italian and Spanish and Portuguese departments to recognize meritorious teaching and/or research. The awards provide $5,000 each.

— Jessie Marie Senor Cramer and Ann Cramer Root Award in French and Italian: Allan Pasco, Hall Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature
— Jessie Marie Senor Cramer and Ann Cramer Root Award in Spanish and Portuguese: Yajaira Padilla, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Three faculty received J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Awards: Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history; Sandra Gray, associate professor of anthropology; and Wonpil Im, assistant professor of molecular biosciences. The award honors exemplary advising by a faculty member in each of three divisions of the College: humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. The award provides each recipient $1,000.

Two faculty members received graduate mentor awards. Juliet Kaarbo, associate professor of political science, received the $1,000 Byron A. Alexander Graduate Mentor Award. Adrianne Kunkel, associate professor of communication studies, received the $750 John C. Wright Graduate Mentor Award. Recipients are selected on the basis of nominations received from graduate students in the college. They were recognized at the Office of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Student Award Ceremony on April 25.

The $1,200 Tony Arnold Faculty Research Stipend was given to Majid Hannoum, assistant professor of anthropology and African and African-American studies. The award goes to a faculty member within the College who submits an outstanding General Research Fund proposal.

Two faculty members received Don and Pat Morrison Foundation Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Donald Marquis, professor of philosophy, and Weizhang Huang, professor of mathematics, will receive $6,911.25 each. The awards are given annually to one mathematics instructor and one philosophy instructor who bring their subjects to life and inspire students to learn and potentially pursue careers in the field.

The funds are managed by 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.


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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