2016 Distinguished Scholar Award

Senior professors are honored for their exceptional scholarly accomplishments and younger faculty members for their demonstrated scholarly potential.
Alice L. Conklin profile picture

Alice L. Conklin

Professor, Department of History


Alice Conklin is an internationally respected scholar whose research specialties include the history of European imperialism, the history of the modern social sciences, the history of race, racism and anti-racism and the history of museums. Her knowledge of developments inside of France and the overseas colonies has reoriented the study of colonialism in the field of French history, and also in the history of modern Western expansion. Conklin’s work sheds light on a significant topic for the world community: how the West’s modern democracies justified colonial expansion a century ago, and how these earlier experiences of empire continue to shape attitudes toward racial and ethnic difference.

Conklin’s first book, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930, addressed the complex question of the many ways that Europeans proposed to “civilize” Africans at different moments in time. It was awarded the Berkshire Book Prize, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. 

Her second major work, In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950, examined race and culture in France’s anthropological community and the museums they worked in from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. It received the Ohio Academy of History 2014 Publication Award and the David H. Pinkney Prize for the best book on French history from the Society for French Historical Studies.  

One colleague states, “Conklin’s achievements belong to the highest international category of scholarly achievement. The depth of her research, her ability to synthesize it with secondary literature, and her ability to shape it into a monograph that is beautifully structured from beginning to end – these are the marks of outstanding work.” 

Conklin has held research fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Commission and German Marshall Fund.  She received the Koren Prize for best article on French history from the Society for French Historical Studies. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Modern History and has served on the editorial board and the executive committee of the Society for French Historical Studies.  

Conklin received her BA from Bryn Mawr College, MA from New York University and PhD from Princeton University. She joined The Ohio State University in 2004.

B. Scott Gaudi profile picture

B. Scott Gaudi

The Thomas Jefferson Chair for Discovery and Space Exploration,
Department of Astronomy


B. Scott Gaudi is a world leader in the search for exoplanets. His specialty is gravitational microlensing, which detects the gravitational light bending by an exoplanet when the star that it orbits happens to align almost perfectly with a more distant background star. Gaudi has been involved with the discovery of nearly two dozen extrasolar planets to date, and has led a team of 69 international astronomers in the discovery of a scaled-down solar system, which implies that solar systems similar to ours might be common throughout the galaxy.

Gaudi was awarded a prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship and was the inaugural recipient of the Menzel Fellowship in theoretical astrophysics at Harvard University. He received the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation. He was named one of “20 Young Scientists to Watch” by Discover magazine and one of Astronomy magazine’s “10 Rising Stars of Astronomy.” He has authored or co-authored 163 refereed journal articles with a total of more than 6100 citations.

Gaudi has served on the Science Definition Team for NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission and served as chair of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG). He is chair of the NASA Advisory Council Astrophysics Subcommittee, providing input to NASA’s astrophysics program. In 2014 he was named as a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

According to one colleague, “While Scott is firmly established as one of the leaders of the microlensing technique, he has also distinguished himself from most members of the exoplanet community through his broad, synthetic view of the field, understanding and contributing to the full array of techniques that are needed to achieve the underlying goals of understanding the formation of planets and searching for signatures of life around other stars.”

Gaudi received his BS from Michigan State University, and his MA and PhD from Ohio State. He joined Ohio State in 2006.

A. Douglas Kinghorn profile picture

A. Douglas Kinghorn

The Jack L. Beal Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy,
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy


A. Douglas Kinghorn is an internationally renowned researcher, teacher and scholar in pharmacognosy, the field of developing new medicines from plants or other natural sources. Kinghorn’s research focuses on the extraction, isolation and structural characterization of novel molecules from higher plants to aid cancer prevention, and the development of anti-cancer therapies and plant-based high-potency, non-caloric sweeteners.

Kinghorn’s research has resulted in over 400 peer-reviewed publications and 51 review articles in prestigious publications such as Science, Cancer Research, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Natural Products, Phytochemistry and Journal of Organic Chemistry. He has authored 17 books, 75 book chapters and holds 15 patents. 

Kinghorn’s research has received continuous support from the National Cancer Institute since the 1980s. His national and international awards and honors include Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and the Norman R. Farnsworth Research Achievement Award, American Society of Pharmacognosy.

According to one colleague, “Professor Kinghorn’s scientific and editorial contributions to the fields of pharmacognosy and natural products drug discovery are coupled with his strong and lasting commitment to teaching and mentorship. There are very few professors of his caliber and he has brought distinction to himself, his laboratory and students, as well as to the university and academic communities.”

Kinghorn received his BPharm from the University of Bradford, U.K.; his MSc from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K.; and his DSc and PhD from the University of London, U.K. He joined Ohio State in 2004.

Brian G. McHale profile picture

Brian G. McHale

Arts and Humanities, Distinguished Professor of English,
Department of English


Brian McHale is one of the world’s most influential scholars of postmodern literature and culture and one of its leading narrative theorists. His seminal book, Postmodernist Fiction (1987), develops a distinction between modernism and postmodernism in fiction that has been widely adopted by other scholars in the field. Taught in courses on postmodernism world-wide, and regularly cited in dissertations and published scholarship, Postmodernist Fiction and the books that followed it – Constructing Postmodernism (1992), The Obligation toward the Difficult Whole (2004) and recent Cambridge Introduction to Postmodernism (2015) – have made him a “household name” among scholars of the postmodern period. He is co-founder of Ohio State’s Project Narrative, recognized internationally as the world capital of narrative studies. 

One colleague said, “Brian McHale represents the best of the profession: a witty and good person who is kind and generous to his fellows as well as a brilliant thinker and renowned scholar committed to ideas and willing to investigate them rigorously, defend them publicly and revise them when dialogue with other good research seems to warrant it.”

McHale is the author of four monographs about postmodern literature and culture. He has published articles and book chapters in distinguished scholarly publications including Diacritics, Genre, Modern Language Quarterly, Narrative, New Literary History, Poetics Today, Style and Twentieth-Century Literature. He is the editor of Poetics Today, a distinguished international journal for academic research in literary and cultural studies.

He serves as president of the International Society for the Study of Narrative and is a founding member and former president of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP).

McHale, a Rhodes Scholar, earned his AB at Brown University and his DPhil from Oxford University. He came to Ohio State in 2002.

René M. Stulz profile picture

René M. Stulz

Everett D. Reese Chair of Banking and Monetary Economics,
The Max M. Fisher College of Business


René Stulz is a world-renowned finance authority whose scholarship has had a significant impact on academic research in finance, as well as financial policy formation at national and international levels. His expertise encompasses areas including asset pricing, banking, corporate and international finance and risk management.

Stulz is one of the most prolific scholars in the finance field with 110 articles published in prestigious journals including the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Finance and the Review of Financial Studies. His research has been cited over 56,000 times and is frequently referenced in international and national media. He is the author of the highly regarded textbook Risk Management and Derivatives and coauthor of the Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System.

He has served as managing editor for the Journal of Finance, the leading academic publication in the field of finance. He is past president of the American Finance Association and the Western Finance Association. He is a Fellow of the American Finance Association, the Financial Management Association and the European Corporate Governance Institute. He is a member of the Asset Pricing and Corporate Finance Programs and the director of the Risk of Financial Institutions group of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

One colleague states, “Taken as a whole, Professor Stulz's career serves as an exemplar for others in terms of the developing creative thought, serving as an inspiration for so many other outstanding scholars and stimulating policy development with national as well as world-wide significance.

Stulz is part of the Squam Lake Group, a group of academics who offer guidance on the reform of financial regulation. He is often invited to provide congressional testimony and consults for major corporations, law firms, the New York Stock Exchange, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He is the chair of the Scientific Council, Swiss Finance Institute and the founder and trustee of the Global Association of Risk Professionals.

He was awarded a Marvin Bower Fellowship from the Harvard Business School, a Doctorat Honoris Causa from the University of Neuchâtel, and the Risk Manager of the Year Award of the Global Association of Risk Professionals. Treasury and Risk Management named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in Finance.”

Stulz received his Licence es Sciences Économiques from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined Ohio State in 1983.

John L. Volakis profile picture

John L. Volakis

The Roy and Lois Chope Chair in Engineering Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


John Volakis is one of the world’s foremost leaders and scholars in the field of electromagnetics, the scientific discipline central to designing wireless/radio communication components that produced the wireless revolution, including cell phones, wireless sensors and sensor networks. He is known for his many transformational contributions in computational methods, antennas and antenna arrays and in textile and medical electronics. His contributions include the introduction of hybrid finite element methods, now the primary approach used the world over for the design of wireless communication systems; the first true miniaturization of antennas for use in handheld and high bandwidth communication devices; and the first battery-less wireless sensor to remotely collect brain neurosignals, a device that holds promise to transform personalized healthcare.

According to one colleague, “When it comes to the field of computational electromagnetics and novel antenna designs dealing with wireless communications, Professor Volakis is in my opinion, a leader of his generation.” 

Volakis has authored or co-authored 373 journal publications and almost 700 conference papers and has published eight books. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and past president of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society. He received the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Distinguished Achievement Award, given to one individual annually world-wide for game-changing contributions to computational electromagnetics, radar scattering and antennas, and for educational leadership and service to the electromagnetics community He is the chair of the United States National Committee of Radio Science (USNC/URSI) Commission B: Fields and Waves. Volakis is the director of Ohio State’s ElectroScience Laboratory, the pre-eminent electromagnetics research center in the United States with more than 175 faculty, researchers and students. 

Volakis received his BE from Youngstown State University, and his MSc and PhD from The Ohio State University. He joined Ohio State in 2003.

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