Higuchi-KU Endowment
Research Achievement Awards

In 1981, Takeru Higuchi and his wife, Aya, established a program to recognize research accomplishments of researchers at Kansas Board of Regents institutions. Takeru Higuchi

The four Research Achievement Awards are named for four individuals -- Balfour S. Jeffrey, Olin K. Petefish, Dolph Simons Sr. and Irvin E. Youngberg -- in recognition of their contributions to the KU research program. In describing these honorees, Higuchi said "They gave themselves unselfishly for the betterment of the university and the state."

Designed to recognize significant research achievement, these awards were first presented in the fall of 1982.  Each award of $10,000 may be expended over five years in support of the recipient's activities, such as research materials, summer salary, fellowship matching funds, equipment, research assistants, or any other purpose consistent with the advancement of the individual's research program.  Each award is made by the Chancellor upon the recommendation of the Vice Chancellor for Research.  Award recipients are announced during the fall semester and recognized formally at a ceremony and reception in November on the KU campus in Lawrence.

The call for nominations for the 2017 awards will be announced in late January/February 2017.

Award Biography Nomination Info
Balfour S. Jeffrey
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Balfour S. Jeffrey (1906-1992), a former chairman of the board and president of Kansas Power and Light Company, was a longtime supporter of the University of Kansas. The KU Alumni Association awarded him the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, and he received the Citation for Distinguished Service from the university. He served as national vice president and president of the Alumni Association and for two terms on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He became a member of the KU Endowment Board of Trustees in 1948 and a member of its Executive Committee in 1963.
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The Balfour Jeffrey Research Award in the field of the Humanities and Social Sciences will be given in recognition of research achievement in the humanities and social sciences to an individual who may be described as having had a major and substantial impact and who has been of national and/or international interest. This individual’s research should be characterized either as profoundly seminal in nature or as representing a productive record of significant research and expanding intellectual or societal insights.
Olin K. Petefish
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Olin K. Petefish (1912-2001), a former partner in the law firm of Petefish, Immel and Heeb, served for 10 years as chairman of the Board of Trustees of KU Endowment. In addition to being a life member of the KU Alumni Association, his service to KU included being the first Lawrence chairman of the "Help KU" Fund and holding numerous offices within KU Endowment. He received both the Fred Ellsworth Medallion and the Citation for Distinguished Service. In 1983, KU students recognized his service to the university when they presented him with the Higher Education Leadership Award.
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The Olin Petefish Research Award in the field of Basic Sciences will be given in recognition of research achievement in the basic sciences to an individual who may be described as having had a major and substantial impact and who has been of national and/or international interest. This individual’s research should be characterized as either profoundly influencing later development in a field or as representing a productive record of significant research that has illuminated basic processes or basic phenomena. The Olin Petefish Research Award will be given for work in the basic sciences in fields such as physics, chemistry, the biological sciences, basic behavioral sciences, and mathematical sciences.
Dolph Simons
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Dolph Simons Sr. (1904-1989), former chairman of the board of the World Company and the Lawrence Journal-World, was deeply involved in university activities for nearly 70 years. He became a trustee of KU Endowment in 1939 and a member of its Executive Committee in 1944. He was vice president of KU Endowment from 1944 to 1965 and president from 1965 to 1972. He twice served as a member of the KU Alumni Association Board of Directors and was national president in 1950-51. In 1956, he received the Citation for Distinguished Service from the university, and he was a 1975 recipient of the Alumni Association's Fred Ellsworth Medallion.
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The Dolph Simons Research Award in the field of Biomedical Sciences will be given in recognition of research achievement in the biomedical sciences to an individual who may be described as having had a major and substantial impact and who has been of national and/or international interest. This individual’s research should be related to biomedical problems and characterized either as profoundly seminal in nature or as representing a productive record of significant research. The Dolph Simons Research Award will be given for biomedical research in areas such as those related to medicine, pharmacy, the biological and behavioral sciences, bio-engineering, and veterinary medicine.
Irvin E. Youngberg
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Irvin E. Youngberg (1912-1981) played a major role in placing KU Endowment in the forefront of private support for higher education. Beginning in 1948, he served for 26 years as its executive secretary. During his years of service, KU Endowment's assets grew from $2 million to more than $40 million. He guided the university and KU Endowment during the Centennial Program for Progress (1966-1969), which raised $21 million for the benefit of the university. He received the Citation for Distinguished Service in 1974.
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The Irvin Youngberg Research Award in the field of Applied Sciences will be given in recognition of research achievement in the applied sciences to an individual who may be described as having had a major and substantial impact and whose work has been of significant relevance to the State of Kansas. This individual’s research should be characterized either as profoundly seminal in nature or as representing a productive record of significant research. The Irvin Youngberg Research Award will be given for work in the applied sciences such as engineering, agriculture, business, economics, and other scientific areas of an applied nature.
Other Information  
Award Citations - 2015 Recipients  
Past Recipients 
 

About Takeru Higuchi

Takeru Higuchi (1918-1987), Regents Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacy and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, came to the University of Kansas in 1967. He has been called the father of "physical pharmacy" for his work in applying the principles of theoretical chemistry to pharmaceutical needs. During his lifetime, he received national and international recognition for his achievements in research, teaching and technology commercialization. Higuchi Hall and the Higuchi Biosciences Center at KU are named in his honor, as is the Higuchi Distinguished Professorship of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His legacy also includes outstanding students, among them Valentino Stella, Ph.D., '71, now a University Distinguished Professor of Phamaceutical Chemistry at KU.

Higuchi was described as an "incredibly capable and visionary scientist and businessman," as well as "a most humble, generous and unselfish person." His work at KU had an impact on multiple levels:

"The arrival of Tak Higuchi . . brought a science entrepreneur of the type that had not previously been seen at the university. His research over the years at Wisconsin had led to some fundamental but, most notably, also marketable, methodology for more effective delivery of drugs. In addition to beginning the development of a new Pharmacy School Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Tak, upon his arrival, also established on the West Campus a division of the Alza Corporation, known as the Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, to begin commercial development and marketing of products. It should be noted that the State of Kansas developed the Regents Chair positions explicitly for the purposes of economic development. Thus, while Tak’s dual role as a professor, as well as an entrepreneur and Vice-president for Exploratory Research for Alza, might seem strange in a university academic setting, it was precisely what the State and the University wanted."

-- Marlin Harmony, History of the KU Chemistry Department, 1959-2000
2015 Higuchi Award Honorees
EVENTS
Why KU
  • 48 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Pharmacy school No. 2 nationally for NIH funding
  • Hall Center receives 3rd NEH challenge grant to support humanities research collaboration
  • Regional leader in technology commercialization
  • 12 graduate programs rank in top 10 nationally among public universities.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Driving discovery, innovation, entrepreneurship
  • Home to 15 major research centers & state surveys
  • 1st in nation for its special education master’s and doctorate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 1st in nation for its city management and urban policy master’s program.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
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