KU News Release

June 19, 2012
Contact: Gavin Young, Office of the Provost, 785-864-7100

KU names three new University Distinguished Professors

Jeff Aubé

Ann Cudd

Maryemma Graham

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Provost Jeffrey Vitter has appointed faculty members Jeff Aubé, medicinal chemistry, Ann Cudd, philosophy, and Maryemma Graham, English, as University Distinguished Professors . Their appointments are effective with the start of the Fall 2012 semester.

“This title is a very significant honor, and I am pleased to recognize three of our finest faculty members through this award,” Vitter said. “Appointment as a University Distinguished Professor is a reflection of many valued accomplishments and contributions to KU, which range from excellence in the classroom to ground-breaking research."

To date new University Distinguished Professors were appointed only when a position became vacant. Going forward, KU will accept nominations for University Distinguished professorships on a biannual basis. The University Committee on Distinguished Professorships reviews nominations and forwards its selections to the provost for final approval. Major criteria for selection include record of scholarship, participation in university affairs and professional organizations, service to community and the success of their students, colleagues and institutions.

“The pool of nominations was evidence of the great number of talented and accomplished faculty we have at KU,” Vitter said. “Professors Aubé, Cudd and Graham stood out with their great contributions to their disciplines and their major contributions in teaching and scholarship. I want to congratulate each for this well-deserved recognition.”

The first Distinguished Professors were established at the University of Kansas in 1958. That year, four were awarded. In 1963, the first University Distinguished Professors were announced. A complete list is available online.

About the 2012 University Distinguished Professors:
Jeff Aubé joined the KU School of Pharmacy in 1986, when he was recruited to the Department of Medicinal Chemistry as an assistant professor. Brought up in Connecticut and Florida, Aubé received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami and a doctorate in organic chemistry at Duke University in 1984, and prior to coming to KU he was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Aubé has held a number of positions at KU, including service as interim director of the KU Center for Teaching Excellence, interim department chairperson (from 2003 to 2005) and director of Atlantis, a trans-Atlantic dual-degree program involving universities in the United States, Germany and Ireland. Aubé currently directs two large NIH-funded initiatives in the general field of chemical biology and drug discovery, both of which enable KU researchers to participate in national networks devoted to biomedical research.

Aubé’s research interests are in synthetic organic chemistry, where he is interested in ways of making new molecules, including complex structures derived from nature, and medicinal chemistry, where he collaborates with biologists to study problems as disparate as addiction and prostate cancer. His research has been internationally recognized through awards, including selection as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Eli Lilly grantee and the Sato Award of the Japanese Pharmaceutical Association. In 2012, he was selected as a Cope Scholar by the American Chemical Society. At KU, he has been the recipient of an Olin Petefish Higuchi Achievement Award, a Kemper Teaching Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and the H.O.P.E. award (presented by the senior class of 1995).

Ann Cudd has been with the Department of Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences since 1988. She also teaches in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, where she was director from 2001 to 2008 and was instrumental in developing its graduate program. She has served as associate dean for the humanities in the College since 2008. Cudd has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Hall Center for the Humanities, and was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also a recipient of a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and served on the executive committee of the Center for Teaching Excellence from 2002 to 2010. Her research focuses on liberalism and the nature of freedom and oppression, and seeks to integrate social science research with timeless ethical and political questions. Cudd has published more than 40 philosophical articles on topics ranging from the nature of rationality to sports metaphors. She is the co-author of “Capitalism For and Against: A Feminist Debate, “ published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press, and author of “Analyzing Oppression,” published in 2006 by Oxford University Press, which was awarded the 2007 Byron Caldwell Smith Award. She has co-edited two other books. She received her bachelor’s in mathematics and philosophy at Swarthmore College, a master’s in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Maryemma Graham has been with the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences since 1998, including one year as the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor. In 1983, she founded and continues to direct the Project on the History of Black Writing, which has been in the forefront of inclusion efforts in higher education for 29 years. It is the only archive of its kind dedicated to literary recovery, professional development, public outreach and digital access. She is the author or editor of 10 books, including “The Cambridge History of African American Literature” (with Jerry W. Ward Jr.), the first comprehensive African-American literary history to be published in the 21st century. She is perhaps best known for her public outreach in the humanities, where she has facilitated interinstitutional networks of peers nationally and globally, and coordinated large-scale public programs that extend the reach of academic scholarship. At KU, Graham founded the Langston Hughes National Poetry Project. While president of the Toni Morrison Society, she created Language Matters, an international teaching initiative. Most recently, she convened the Haiti Research Initiative, re-establishing lines of communication with a country with which KU has had a long-standing relationship. Graham has been a John Hope Franklin fellow at the National Humanities Center, an American Council of Learned Societies fellow, a Hall Center fellow, and a recipient of more than 15 grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. Recognition at KU includes induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame and the Steeples Service to Kansas Award. Graham received a bachelor’s in English and journalism from University of North Carolina, a master’s in English from Northwestern University, a master’s in Africana studies from Cornell University and a doctorate in English from Cornell. In 2013, Graham will publish her first multimedia book, “Margaret Walker’s South,” from the University Press of Mississippi, and in 2014, Oxford University Press will release her long-awaited biography, “The House Where My Soul Lives: the Life of Margaret Walker.”


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