LAWRENCE – Making strides internationally in the areas of public affairs and neurology, KU professors John Nalbandian and Dr. Richard J. Barohn have been named winners of the 2012 Chancellors Club career teaching and research awards, respectively.
Nalbandian is a professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Nalbandian earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Southern California. He joined the KU faculty in 1976 and became a full professor in 1991. He served as chair of the Department of Public Administration from 1984-1988 and 2000-2007.
He also served for eight years in the 1990s on the Lawrence City Commission, including two terms as mayor. He has been honored in Kansas as an elected official of the year and public administrator of the year.
Jewel D. Scott, executive director of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, praised Nalbandian for his integrity and humility, and for being an ambassador for KU and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. "John embodies the best of the public administration and the teaching professions," Scott said.
Rosemary O'Leary, a distinguished professor at Syracuse University who will join the KU faculty in 2013, was a student of Nalbandian during her time at KU. She called the classes life-changing experiences.
"Out of the nearly 100 professors I had while earning my degrees, John Nalbandian easily stands out as the best," O'Leary said. "He changed my life in only the most positive way."
Barohn is the Gertrude and Dewey Ziegler Professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurology. Barohn earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Barohn holds numerous leadership positions, including director of Frontiers: the Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and is the principal investigator on the KUMC Clinical and Translational Science Award and the NeuroNEXT Clinical Trials grant, both from the National Institutes of Health.
Barohn develops multidisciplinary, international research treatment trials in rare neuromuscular diseases. He currently leads four multicenter trials in muscle disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The results of one of his studies in muscle disease were just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has authored more than 200 research publications.
Dr. Robert C. Griggs, professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, applauded Barohn's excellence as a clinical neuroscientist, educator, clinician and leader.
"In the 11 years since he assumed the chairmanship of the Department of Neurology, Dr. Barohn has taken a small, good department and transformed it into an academic powerhouse with internationally recognized programs in multiple subspecialities of neurology," Griggs said.
Dr. Gil I. Wolfe professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, SUNY, also nominated Barohn for this award.
"Rick is an international authority and leader in neuromuscular medicine," Wolfe said. "Over his career, he has demonstrated consistent excellence as a scholar, clinician and mentor."
Each professor will receive a $10,000 award. The awards are provided through KU Endowment, the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU.
Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.