13:21 PM

​Professors of anthropology, astronomy receive university’s highest faculty honor

The Ohio State University recognized two faculty members with the university’s highest honor Friday.

The Board of Trustees voted to award the title of Distinguished University Professor to  Clark Larsen, Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and David Weinberg, Henry L. Cox Professor of Astronomy.

“They have taught students at all levels, and their work is highly praised and widely published. In addition, their service to the university has made significant impact,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron.

The Distinguished University Professor designation is awarded after a lengthy nomination and review process. Selection includes automatic membership in the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee and a one-time award of $30,000 to be used for scholarly work. Only 56 other faculty members share the title.

Larsen is a biological anthropologist who studies human health and quality of life over the last 10,000 years of human evolution. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“To be honored in this way is a thrill for me as an academic citizen of the university. We spend all of our time working in labs and writing and we do it because we are engaged with education and learning. To be appreciated this way is just phenomenal. It makes it worth it,” Larsen said.

Weinberg studies the structure of the universe, dark energy and dark matter. He has received Ohio State’s Distinguished Scholar Award. He is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association or the Advancement of Science.

“My personal academic success is paralleled and intertwined with the Astronomy Department which over the last 25 years has been built into a world-class program,” Weinberg said.

The awards for Larsen and Weinberg come on the same day the trustees endorsed the university’s new strategic plan: Time and Change. The plan sets out five pillars as a foundation for continued success as a flagship public research university in the 21st century.

The first pillar focuses on teaching and learning. Larsen said teaching is a part of his job that he still loves.

“I think it starts with my excitement about my field. Meeting students in the classroom and in the laboratory, you share that excitement. We work each other up with the cool stuff that we do,” Larsen said.