One of many examples of excellence at the University of Kansas is the institution of Named, University, and Foundation Distinguished Professors.
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. In 2014, the first Foundation Distinguished Professors were appointed. A list of all Distinguished Professors is on permanent display on the landing of the fifth floor of the Kansas Union.
A Distinguished Professorship is awarded wholly on the basis of merit, following exacting criteria; demographic factors and years of service are not taken into account. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number is small – less than 100 – for the entire university.
A nominee must be truly distinguished as a scholar, ranking among the top scholars in the United States for his or her particular field, and possessing an international reputation of excellence. However, an exemplary scholarly record is not enough; a pre-eminent ability to teach must always complement it.
Accordingly, the nominee must have a proven record of interest in the growth and success of students, colleagues, and institutions. Further, the nominee must show engagement in inter-disciplinary work, and participate in university affairs. Indeed a Distinguished Professor serves not only the university, but the local community and state as well.