The Distinguished Professor Award is the highest distinction for faculty members at Ohio University. Established in 1958 by Edwin and Ruth Kennedy as a designated component of the John C. Baker Fund, the award recognizes exceptional research and scholarly or artistic achievements. Since the award’s inception, it has been understood that recipients also must be conscientious teachers. Years later, President Charles J. Ping, commenting on the significance of the award, said, “Distinguished Professor awards have helped make it attractive for outstanding scholars who also are effective teachers to remain here for long tenures.”
The award was inaugurated in 1959 with the recognition of John F. Cady, Harvey C. Lehman, and Paul Murray Kendall. Gladys Balin-Stern became the first woman to receive the award in 1986. Since its inception, Distinguished Professors have been appointed from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication, Education, Engineering and Technology, Fine Arts, and Osteopathic Medicine.
Among the privileges granted to Distinguished Professors is the honor of annually naming an undergraduate student to receive a year’s full-tuition scholarship, lifetime designation title of Distinguished Professor, a continuing salary stipend, a one-quarter paid research leave, and travel support. Portraits of the Distinguished Professors are on display in the Distinguished Professor Gallery on the third floor of Alden Library outside of The Friends of the Library Room.