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Ohio State University logo Recognizing Excellence

University Distinguished Scholar Awards

The Distinguished Scholar Award, established in 1978, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of research, as well as the work of younger faculty members who have demonstrated great scholarly potential. The award is supported by the Office of Research. Recipients are nominated by their departments and chosen by a committee of senior faculty, including several past recipients of the award. Distinguished Scholars receive a $3,000 honorarium and a research grant of $20,000 to be used over the next three years.

Recognizing Excellence at Ohio State

Current University Awards winners

Previous University Awards winners

Click on photo or scroll down the page to read winner's bio.

John C. Byrd
D. Warren Brown Designated Professorship in Leukemia Research
Department of Internal Medicine
College of Medicine

John C. Byrd’s career in cancer research is still in a relatively early stage, but his work and the recognition he has received for it reach far beyond his years.

The physician-scientist has a reputation in the field of hematology and oncology that makes him an internationally recognized expert in leukemia research with a focus on the study of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

“John is still relatively early in his research career and has many years of productivity ahead,” one colleague said. “It is rare that someone so young has already had such an exceptional impact on understanding a disease and developing therapies that favorably impact the lives of patients.”

Byrd has received 22 national or institutional honors, published 145 peer-reviewed papers, written 14 book chapters, and has a total of 26 active federal, foundation and industry research grants that bring several million dollars to OSU annually.

As director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program, Byrd is responsible for more than 20 physicians caring for patients with leukemia and other blood cancers. He also leads 20 active institutional clinical studies, focusing on new targeted therapies for patients with CLL.

“He has successfully taken the work he and his colleagues are doing in the laboratory and has brought these findings into the clinic and to the patient’s bedside,” another colleague said.

Byrd, who came to Ohio State in 2001, received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1991.

Peter W. Culicover
Professor, Department of Linguistics
College of Humanities

As a leading international syntactic theoretician, Peter W. Culicover is known for his research on the balance between structure (syntax) and meaning (semantics) in the production and interpretation of sentences.

Yet his ability to combine his love for linguistics with his breadth of interests in other fields — ranging from psychology to philosophy to computer science — has put him at the forefront of the study of human language.

“He has not only written large amounts within a circumscribed sub-area that he has made his own; he has worked in several clearly distinct sub-areas and contributed major works in all of them,” a colleague said.

Culicover is also praised for the sheer amount of scholarly output he has generated. During his eight years as department chair, he produced three books and numerous academic publications. In all, Culicover has authored or co-authored 55 articles, 19 technical reports and nine books — two of which are widely used and highly influential textbooks about theoretical syntax.

“Peter Culicover is a major figure in the field of linguistics, whose work has important implications for neighboring disciplines,” another colleague said. “He is prolific, and his work is both original and deep.”

Culicover, who came to Ohio State in 1987, received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971.

Russell H. Fazio
Harold E. Burtt Chair in Psychology
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Called a social psychology superstar by colleagues, Russell H. Fazio is known for his trailblazing 1980s work that led to the emergence of the social cognition perspective in the field of psychology.

“Professor Fazio is a giant in the field,” one colleague said. “In making both major theoretical and empirical contributions, Fazio has continually set the research agenda for the field with each and every new research program he has initiated.”

Fazio is one of the longest-serving consulting editors on the editorial boards of top-ranked journals in his field. He is also one of the most highly cited scientists in his discipline, and has published more than 100 articles and book chapters.

“It is always a pleasure to witness Dr. Fazio tackling a complex issue,” another colleague said. “His ideas are challenging and exciting, and his studies are beautifully constructed — masterpieces.”

He is also recognized for his mentoring abilities. In a typical year, his laboratory includes a postdoctoral researcher, four Ph.D. students, undergraduate work-study students and numerous undergraduates.

“His students respect what he has to say because it is so valuable,” said one former student. “The solidity, precision and accuracy of his mentoring feedback provide a valuable standard to which students can aspire.”

Fazio, who came to Ohio State in 2001, received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1978.

John H. Kagel
Professor, Department of Economics
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

John H. Kagel is described by colleagues as one of the most outstanding economists of his generation. His work spans the disciplines of economics and psychology, with major accomplishments in the research areas of rational decision-making, auction strategy and experimental game theory.

“He is a star of considerable magnitude, one of the pioneer experimental economists, whose work has confronted important parts of economic theory with carefully designed and analyzed experiments,” a colleague said.

Kagel has received numerous National Science Foundation (NSF) awards. In fact, he has not been without NSF funding since his days as an assistant professor in 1971. He has also co-authored monographs, published in more than 80 economic, psychology and biology journals and authored or co-edited six books.

His election as president of the International Economic Science Association in 2005 and his appointment as a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2003 offer further testimony for the high esteem in which he is held by those in his field.

“He is a deeply serious scholar, who wants his work to mean something and never spares the effort to make it so,” another colleague said. “He is truly a man of ideas, and one of unusual generosity of spirit.”

Kagel, who came to Ohio State in 1999, received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1970.

C.K. Shum
Professor, School of Earth Sciences
College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

C.K. Shum stands at the forefront of research on changes in global sea levels, including the determinants of the 20th century sea level rise.

“In the rather young field of satellite altimetry and satellite gravity determination, C.K. Shum is the leading entity both in terms of expertise and leadership,” one colleague said.

His work on climate change is celebrated. Shum has received many awards and distinctions, most recently for his work as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

His work with the IPCC is just one of his many collaborations, as he serves as a science team member on satellite geodetic and remote-sensing missions for space agencies in Japan, Spain and France as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“C.K. Shum is a world-class scientist who not only influences research in the United States but around the world,” one colleague stated.

He has also published more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and spends much of his time at Ohio State managing a large research program with students and full-time research staff. At Ohio State, his more than 50 proposals have received nearly $17 million in funding.

Shum, who joined Ohio State in 1997, received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Texas at Austin.

Caroline C. Whitacre
Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics
Vice Dean, College of Medicine

Caroline C. Whitacre’s expertise on immunological mechanisms and gender differences in multiple sclerosis has made her one of the world’s most acknowledged authorities on autoimmune disease, which is apparent by the fact that she has given more than 135 invited addresses at major universities and scientific meetings.

She is also regarded as an outstanding teacher, having received the College of Medicine Teaching Award on three occasions.

“Dr. Whitacre is a stellar example of achievement in scholarship, teaching and service,” said one colleague. “She is the epitome of accomplishment, and sets a standard of achievement to which few could ever hope to aspire.”

She has published nearly 100 papers in premier peer-reviewed journals and currently serves on the editorial board of four leading journals in her field.

Whitacre has had continuous support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1985, and currently has support for five NIH grants as well as several more from the Health Resources and Services Administration and from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“It is remarkable that, in the context of her extensive administrative and teaching commitments, her scholarly productivity has remained extremely high,” another colleague said.

On the university level, Whitacre serves as the Vice Dean for Research and successfully championed the development of research and research education, as well as developing resources to help support new investigators and faculty with bridge funding.

She received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1975 and has been a faculty member in the College of Medicine since 1981.

2008 University Distinguished Scholar Awards


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