Associate Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Susan Williams was selected to receive a Kemper Fellowship on the first day of her Material and Energy Balance class.
Interim Provost Danny Anderson led the KU Kemper “Surprise Patrol” to Williams’ spot on the stage of Spahr Engineering Classroom and handed over a check for $5,000 in honor of her teaching excellence. A large audience of students in broke out in loud, sustained applause.
In all, 20 unsuspecting professors will be honored and a total of $100,000 distributed this year as part of the Kemper tradition.
The W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 13th year, the awards have been supported by a $650,000 gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $650,000 in matching funds from KU Endowment.
The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after Kemper’s death. The foundation is dedicated to continuing Kemper’s lifelong interest in improving the human condition and quality of life. The foundation supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
About Susan Stagg-Williams, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering
Susan Stagg-Williams is known for her involvement with research, projects and outreach in the area of biofuels. She is the co-originator and director of the KU Biodiesel Initiative, which researches manufacturing processes for alternative fuels and provides incredible learning opportunities for students.
Along with teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in chemical engineering and facilitating alternative energy research, she puts ample energy in public outreach. She has performed many public interviews, tours and conference presentations and advises camps for high school students interested in engineering. She also takes a leading role with the Kansas Soybean Commission, providing research and development support to the soybean farming community.
“Susan has been very active in many areas that have been significant to the people of Kansas,” said Laurence Weatherley, chair of chemical and petroleum engineering. “She is clearly on an upward trajectory … for the benefit of the students of KU, the citizens of Kansas and beyond.”