Distinguished University Professor

The Distinguished University Professor title is awarded permanently to no more than three exceptional faculty per year.

Two faculty members have been named Distinguished University Professor, the highest faculty honor at The Ohio State University. Following the recommendation of Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa L. Gilliam, the Board of Trustees formally conferred the title on A. Douglas Kinghorn and William S. Marras.

Photo portrait of Dr. Kinghorn

A. Douglas Kinghorn

Professor and Jack L. Beal Chair


The research interests of Dr. Kinghorn are on the isolation, characterization, and biological evaluation of natural products of higher plant origin, and he has worked in particular on compounds with potential antimicrobial, cancer chemotherapeutic, cancer chemopreventive, sweet-tasting, and bitterness-blocking effects. Dr. Kinghorn is the former Editor in Chief (1994-2019) and current Emeritus Editor (2020-present) of the "Journal of Natural Products" (co-published by the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Pharmacognosy) and is Series Editor in Chief of the book series "Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products" (published by Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland) (2008-present).


Photo portrait of Dr. Marris

William S. Marras

The Honda Chair in Transportation, Integrated Systems Engineering
Professor, Neurological Surgery
Professor, Orthopaedics
Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Dr. Marras' research endeavors to understand spine disorders from a multidisciplinary systems perspective. He and his team at the SRI focus on understanding spine disorder causal pathways through an integrated analysis of occupational (epidemiological) and clinical observations, laboratory based studies to understand biomechanical functioning of the spine components, and computer modeling in order to assess spine forces at a personalized spine tissue level. These efforts are applied in the occupational environment through the prevention of occupational musculoskeletal disorders where he and his SRI-Ergonomics team work with many of the top 500 companies nationwide. Current efforts also underway with the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation to develop methods to quantify, phenotype and better understand how to address spine disorders. 

The title Distinguished University Professor is a permanent honorific that includes automatic membership in the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee. In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs designates a one-time cash award of $30,000 to be used for scholarly work. To date, 70 faculty members have now been awarded the Distinguished University Professor title.

This program has a rigorous selection process that begins each August. The Office of Academic Affairs sends a call for nominations to recommend faculty for this honor. Department chairs, school directors or faculty awards committees forward their nominations to their college deans. Deans develop a college review process, solicit support letters nationally and internationally and forward their final nomination decisions to our office.

Nominations                    Previous Winners