Our graduates' careers demonstrate the endless possibilities of a degree in the liberal arts and sciences. To recognize the most significant among our alumni's many achievements, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences honors a few select graduates each year with the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. It is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the College.
The award recognizes our graduates' outstanding contributions to KU, their professions or their communities in a wide range of disciplines, including the arts, public service, business, academia and more.
Edgar Heap of Birds is a pioneer of conceptual Native American art. Heap of Birds works in a variety of media, including multidisciplinary forms of public art, large-scale drawings, acryl
Sharon Lee is the founding physician and director of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, a nonprofit health clinic in Kansas City, Kansas.
William Fisher is a geologist who has contributed broadly to the field, offering an immense effect through higher education, research and public service.
Juan Manuel Santos is serving his first four-year term as president of the Republic of Colombia. He was elected in June 2010.
Marla Prather is a curator and scholar who has helped develop collections at some of the most well-known museums in the world.
Marla Spivak is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and Distinguished McKnight Professor and Extension Entomologist in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota.
Robert Kipp is a civic leader with more than 50 years’ experience managing city administrations, commercial development and philanthropic efforts.
Cynthia Carroll has been named the fourth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes for her work as CEO of Anglo American plc, a global mining group and FTSE 20 company headquartered in London. C
Mark Amin has earned credit in over 50 feature films ranging from low budget independents to television films and major studio productions as vice chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment and CEO of Sob
Vernon L. Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his groundbreaking work in experimental economics.
Wes Jackson is a visionary environmentalist who serves as president of The Land Institute, a Salina-based non-profit research, education, and policy organization dedicated to developing an agricult
Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multimedia installations.
Through his innovative work with baseball research, George William James has changed the way the sport is viewed, understood and managed.
Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in April 2009.
Steve Mills, president and producer of New Vision Entertainment, has led a distinctive entertainment career, producing more than 600 television movies and mini series.
Deanell Reece Tacha was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 1985, where she is a federal appellate judge.
Robert Hill is a world-renowned scientist who serves as the James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University.
Sheila Bair was sworn in as chair of FDIC in June 2006.
George Sheldon has served as chair of surgery for 17 years and professor of surgery and social medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
James Gunn is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential authors, scholars and educators in science fiction.
Mary Dawson is an acclaimed paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Thomas Rudkin is best known for his role as one of two engineers who wrote the first version of the software program PowerPoint.
Randy Scott is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genomic Health. Scott has more than 23 years of biotechnology industry experience and a strong history of scientific innovation.
Rosemary O'Leary is a Distinguished Professor of public administration and co-director of the Program for the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
Steven Hawley is a veteran astronaut having flown on five Space Shuttle missions, including the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, the second Hubble Telescope servicing mission, and the launch o
Thomas G. Burish was appointed provost of the University of Notre Dame in 2005.
Charley Oswald is being acknowledged for his success in private business.
David M. Hillis, who is considered by many to be the world leader in the area of molecular systematics, is being recognized by the College for his academic accomplishments.
Sally Hoglund is being recognized for her extensive public service work.
Sara Paretsky is being recognized for her outstanding advancement of the arts.
Dr. Elizabeth "Betsy" Broun is a three-time KU alumna, with a bachelor's in French (1968; Phi Beta Kappa), master's in history of art (1969) and doctorate in history of art (1976).
Dr. Gary Sick graduated from the College in 1957 with a bachelor's in French literature.
Dr. Irving Johnson, who led the commercial production of insulin with recombinant DNA technology at Eli Lilly, earned his doctorate in developmental biology in 1953 from KU.
Mike Robe is credited with establishing the Professional Advisory Board of the Department of Theatre and Film in the early 1980s.
Douglas D. Heckathorn is a sociology professor at Cornell University and is editor of the journal Rationality and Society.
Edward F. Reilly Jr. has been chairman of the U.S. Parole Commission since 2001. He was appointed to the commission in 1992.
Paul S. Keim is the director of pathogen genomics at TGen and is the Cowden endowed chair in microbiology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Since 1996, Terrence D.
Jill Docking received a B.A. in History in 1978 and a Masters in Business in 1984 from the University of Kansas. Docking is currently the Vice President of Investments at A.G. Edwards and Sons.
Paul R. Ehrlich earned a B.A. in zoology in 1953 at the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in 1955 and a Ph.D. in 1957 at the University of Kansas.
Jill Quadagno is the Mildred and Claude Pepper Eminent Scholar in Social Gerontology at Florida State University. She earned her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University, her M.A.
James E. Hesser, Wichita native, graduated from KU in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in astronomy. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in astrophysics from Princeton University.
Clyde W. Toland earned a degree from the University of Kansas in 1969 and the University of Kansas Law School in 1975. Toland has generously supported the University at various levels.
Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years.